Chuck Landon: WVU has plan to end series with Marshall
WVU's motives for football scheduling are as transparent as Bob Huggins' excuse for his most recent hotel room tumble.
Everyone can see through it.
There is one reason the Mountaineers chose to sign a game with BYU for the 2016 season. WVU is doing everything it possibly can to book non-conference games for the 2014 season and beyond.
In hopes of squeezing the Marshall-WVU series out of existence. There is nothing the Mountaineers would like better than to be able to shrug their collective shoulders and say, "Sorry, Marshall, there's no room in the Mountaineer Inn."
That philosophy is so obvious one source with knowledge of the situation characterized WVU's mindset as "actively looking" for non-conference games to schedule.
Meanwhile, the calendar is clicking toward Nov. 2 with no resolution in sight for a renewal of the Marshall-WVU series which ends after a game in Morgantown in 2012.
Are WVU officials coyly playing the waiting game, while knowing full well that Gov. Joe Manchin is immersed in his United States Senate campaign race against John Raese?
And with each passing day it becomes more and more obvious that only one person will be able to bring equitable closure to this controversy.
The same guy who did it the first time.
The governor had to strong-arm former Mountaineer athletic director Eddie Pastilong and former WVU president David Hardesty in 2005 even to get the series started. Now, in 2010, Manchin will have to wrestle with WVU officials again.
Nope, this calls for a full-Manchin.
That's the political hold he will have to put on WVU athletic director Oliver Luck in order to keep this series operating like an in-state rivalry.
And, yes, that means on a yearly basis.
It's a shame that cooler, more reasonable heads won't prevail in this Marshall-WVU series renewal saga. That's the way it should be done, instead of the governor of West Virginia having no choice but to get involved.
But the start of this series didn't happen that way in 2005 and, now, the renewal process is going to be equally contentious.
Especially considering there is a sense of urgency.
Time is dwindling and non-conference games are being contracted.
Only 36 days remain on the oath Manchin delivered on Sept. 10 in Huntington, declaring the series will be continued and Marshall fans will be pleased with the renewal.
It all boils down to the next time Marshall authorities see Manchin.
If it's in-person at Charleston, that's good news for the MU-WVU series renewal.
If it's on television in Washington, D.C., it will mean the series as Marshall knows it is over.
See you soon, Mr. Governor.
RETURN OF DARIUS: Wayward former Marshall running back Darius Marshall has returned to Huntington, after all.
When Marshall declared for the NFL Draft after his junior season in 2009, nobody expected to see him around these parts again.
But when Marshall wasn't selected in the NFL Draft or signed as a free agent, he decided to return to Marshall University as a student. He has a job and is paying his own way as he works on a degree.
That doesn't mean the MU athletic department has turned its back on Marshall, however. If he stays out of trouble during this school year, Marshall will go back on full scholarship so he can finish his degree.
I applaud both Marshalls.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 304-526-2827. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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