Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Skateboarding And Blogging Are Not Crimes

The hot topic of the day would have to be what transpired on Costas Now last night. If you are not familiar, I'll have links and goodies and all that stuff later on in the post. Back to the title for a minute. My mom said something to me this weekend that kind of caught me off guard. She said something to the effect that skateboarders always end up in trouble. Insinuating that skateboarding is evil or a gateway to worse things. I had a thought just for a second to remind her that I was a skateboarder up through the end of my college life and I kind of turned out ok. And that traditional sports don't appeal to everyone. I also played every sport I had access to growing up as well, but that's neither here nor there.

The point I think I was on the verge of making was that everyone can't achieve greatness in the same area. You have to love what you are doing before you're ever going to be great at it, or even enjoy it. Not everyone has the physical build to play football/basketball/baseball. So skateboarding by itself isn't bad. (Remember, I'm probably older than you and skateboarding wasn't very main stream when I was growing up) So these kids that never got picked to play sports decided to go off on a tangent and do something that didn't require a team or an adversary. Instead of being accepted, skateboarders were looked at and treated as outsiders. And after a while you start to wear that as a badge of honor. You do things to let people know you don't care what they think of you. Listen to thrash metal or whatever is going to repulse parents. Because kids do that. But skateboarding by itself isn't bad. It's just misunderstood.

And I kind of feel the same way about blogging. Blogging in and of itself isn't bad. Just misunderstood by the MSM. But if you watch this video and listen to what Buzz Bissinger has to say, you would think that sports blogging is the gateway to the end of the universe.

It's not, it's just the end of sports reporting as we know it. I'm not attacking journalist by saying that. Because bloggers need sports reporters in most cases. Because if you're like me, you have a real fucking job and you need someone else to put the story out there and then you put the pieces together. And yeah, it's not like the worst bloggers that make shit up all the time are the ones getting all the attention. It's people like Will Leitch and Orson Swindell (along with many many others) that are making blogging a viable option. So much so, that AOL hired a bunch of underwear clad amateurs, including me, to write for them and get paid. And it's happening everywhere you look. Newspapers, magazines, etc. are all hiring bloggers because they see that it's the trend. It might not be the same as an independent site, because those entities still have to have a level or journalistic integrity. But it is short and to the point reporting with a twist. If the goal of blogging was to emulate sports reporting, what would be the point? The point is to entertain and inform. With the emphasis on entertain.

That doesn't make me the pinnacle of honesty and fair play. I've certainly said some petty and vindictive things about sports figures and sports reporters. But at the same time I do make a very conscious effort to have my facts straight. I mean, I don't say someone sucks because they are from Pittsburgh. No, I find out if they went to Pitt and then I say they suck.

But I didn't start this to get rich or famous, and I'm not. I started doing this because I have a love for WVU sports. And I wanted to express that. Somewhere along the way it turned into something more, and I'm lucky to be in the position I'm in. And I think the same is true for most bloggers. They do it because they love it. And it's that passion that shines through and makes blogs good and fun and popular. And I'll be honest with you, that's something that is sadly lacking from the main stream media. They've lost their passion, or at least their ability to impress it upon readers and viewers.

More on the subject:

Nunes the Magician
Dan Shanoff
Mr. Irrelevant
and of course, Awful Announcing for getting the video out there.

I'm sure more will follow tomorrow.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Leaving WVU

Some by choice and others probably kicking and screaming. First the draft and following free agent signing period had 8 former Mountaineers join NFL teams. Of the drafted Steve Slaton went in the 3rd round (89th) to Houston, Owen Schmitt went in the 5th round (163rd) to Seattle, and Ryan Munday was chosen in the 6th round (194) by Pittsburgh. Joining those three were Johnny Dingle (KC Chiefs), Darius Reynaud (Minnesota Vikings), Marc Magro (St. Louis Rams), Eric Wicks (Seattle Seahawks) and Keilen Dykes (Arizona Cardinals) by signing free agent contracts (all from Wikipedia). Not a good weekend for the WVU Juniors that left early. Slaton went middle of the third and Dingle and Reynaud were not chosen at all. Slaton will have Ahman Green, Ron Dayne, and Chris Brown in front of him at Houston to start, but on the plus side the Texans run a zone blocking scheme. Schmidt may walk into the best position as Seattle lost Mack Strong last year as their fullback and with Mike Holmgren utilizing the fullback position were in need of a fullback/H-back. For Mundy Pittsburgh may also have been a good place to land since starting FS Aaron Smith still has problems seeing through the smoke of being constantly burned by New England last year after he talked trash before the Steeler/Pat matchup. Dingle will look to make a name on a team that selected Glenn Dorsey and Brian Johnston in the draft and also have Tank and Turk from last year for anyone that watched the HBO training camp series. Minnesota picked Jaymar Johnson in the 6th round and WR is considered a need for the Vikings. Dykes and Magro have the longest odds to make rosters and the Cardinals drafted three defensive linemen while the Rams did not draft any linebackers.

Some other people are leaving WVU before they'd probably like. After the WVU faculty Senate contemplated a no-confidence vote for Garrison and Lang resignations followed. So far Lang and Dean Sears have resigned. No resignations yet from the President's Office or the BOG (Steve Goodwin). According to the panel report the Chief of Staff Craig Walker, head legal counsel Alex Macia, and the Communications Director Bill Case were all in the meeting that lasted less than an hour and granted Bresch a degree which she was 22 credits short. According to the DA Macia was the individual that brought up the idea that Bresch should be awarded the degree and Lang and Sears signed off on the idea that it was either a "tie" in the evidence or close enough. The evidence was this: all records pointed to Bresch not having the last 22 credits, having attended class, paid for class, etc. while Bresch had a conversation with Speaker that she said took place and Speaker gave her learning credit for her job. Speaker denies this took place and there are no records for either side. So apparently a "tie" consisted of someone just walking in and claiming they should have a degree even if they had no evidence. Did I mention I am now Dr. Tummysticks MS, JD, MD, DDS, PhD, CA (Certified Aromatherist).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

These are all true

All of these are a little crazy.

First a man dressed as Darth Vader attacked a couple of guys that started a Jedi Church in England. Actually he just wore a black garbage bag, got drunk (drank most of a 10 liter box of wine), and hit them with a metal crutch while shouting "Darth Vader". The Jedi's did not respond well:

The cousins had been filming themselves playing with light sabres in the garden before the attack... She added that Hughes hit Barney Jones over the head with the crutch, leaving him with a headache. The court heard Hughes could not remember the incident. He then laughed and hit Michael Jones in the thigh, causing bruising...Hughes could not remember the incident and only realised what had happened when he read about it in local newspapers, the court told.
Meanwhile in the Congo 13 people were arrested as suspected sorcerers and accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men's penises.
Rumors of penis theft began circulating last week in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo's sprawling capital of some 8 million inhabitants. They quickly dominated radio call-in shows, with listeners advised to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings.
I may not have helped things by skinny dipping recently in the Congo:
It's real. Just yesterday here, there was a man who was a victim. We saw. What was left was tiny," said 29-year-old Alain Kalala, who sells phone credits near a Kinshasa police station.
Finally, WVU has already released the Heather Bresch panel report and the blame stops short of the top.
The damning 95-page report released Wednesday by the WVU Board of Governors is harshest on Provost Gerald Lang and business school dean Steve Sears, who the panel said had no academic foundation for retroactively granting Bresch the 1998 degree.
Although it does include this:
Lang, as chief academic officer, bears the brunt of the criticism for running the one-hour, Oct. 15 meeting where the decision to grant the degree was made. Also attending were Sears, WVU chief of staff Craig Walker, general counsel Alex Macia, communications director Bill Case and three educators from the business school.

"The panel believes the prevailing sentiment at the meeting, evinced by the actions and comments of the provost and the representatives of the president's office, was that a way should be found to justify the granting of the degree, if at all possible,'' the report says.

Believe it or not

One of the following three stories is true although far-fetched.

1. The Rich Rodriguez deposition was leaked. During the deposition a tearful Rodriguez admits that he has made some mistakes especially with his relations with fellow employees. He admitted that he only interviewed with Michigan because he was upset with Pastilong after the two spoke shortly after the Pitt game and only left because Rita called him a sissy for crying after that meeting and he wanted to show her that he "was a real man" and thought Michigan would impress her. He also admitted to starting the "racism" rumors with Magee as a joke just to "see the look only Larry Aschebrook's face." However, RRod remained defiant about his playcalling ability and the deposition was ended after he smacked someone for asking about his lack of passing then put the stenographer in a figure-four after she agreed that bubble screens suck.

2. Jason Gwaltney is in the best shape of his life and is thinking about attempting to come back to WVU as a walk-on. He has finished up all his legal issues and has been in contact with Coach Stewart. Stewart informed Gwaltney that he would be allowed back on the team as a walk-on if paid his own way and stayed out of trouble because "everybody deserves a second chance."

3. Coach Bill Stewart announced yesterday that the gold uniforms are to be retired. The uniforms met with mixed reviews initially by both players and fans. Despite being a top seller, Coach Stewart has eliminated the gold look after admitting that self-consciousness played a big part in the loss to Pitt. "Players were so out of sorts because of Pitt players making fun of us looking like bananas that the men had trouble concentrating on execution." Stewart also announced that the golds would be replaced by grey uniforms. "The basketball team has some sharp greys that I think would look real nice-like on the football field. I've always wanted some grey uni's and I'm running the show now so it's going to happen" said Stewart to conclude his presser.

The answer? Here. A hint? I wouldn't believe any of these until a saw them, but maybe he'll bring Brandon Barrett back too.

Semi-Pro Slaying

As it turns out, the bear that appeared with Will Ferrell in Semi-Pro really is dangerous. It killed a trainer. No shit.

Of course, now people want to kill the bear. A few hippies don't like animals on television. I say it is simple assumption of risk. What kind of idiot doesn't know a 7 1/2 ft. 700 lb. bear can kill you if it wants to?

"I was just grabbin' balls out there." - Jackie Moon

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Heather Bresch has one less degree

Just think of the degree as "borrowed" rather than purchased as it is unanamious that all five of the panel felt WVU erred in granting Heather Bresch a degree retroactively. Next up is whether the report is released publically and what are the names involved in giving Bresch a "temporary" eMBA.

Round of Reubens

Heathergate is slowly winding down now that the panel of investigators have submitted their findings to WVU Provost Gerald Lang. Interesting is the difference in the articles from the Gazette and Daily Mail (same AP article) and the Post Gazette. The WV newspapers focus on the panel and a very loose wrap-up of the questions surrounding this case with a conclusion that Bresch was 10-credits short of her degree and insists she was told by Paul Speaker that work experience would count for the final semester. On the other hand the PPG goes into much more depth in review and also briefs the reader on the next issue which is FERPA.

The newspaper's review of university records found that after the decision was made, WVU officials added 22 credits to Ms. Bresch's transcript, nearly half of the 48 credits the degree required. The changes included adding six courses, with grades, that previously were not on her record and changing two course "incompletes" to letter grades. The newspaper found the changes were made without documents showing she had registered, paid or done the work for the classes.

Since the Dec. 21 story, WVU officials have offered various, often contradictory, explanations of how they made the decision -- including acknowledgements by Mr. Lang and business school Dean R. Stephen Sears that they lacked the records to show Ms. Bresch completed the degree
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is used to prohibit student records from being publicly released without student and family permission. However, the PPG fires the first salvo here:
"The main issue here is for the faculty to be satisfied that nothing inappropriate occurred," said Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Nassirian said WVU would not violate Ms. Bresch's FERPA rights by turning the entire report over to the faculty senate.

"They certainly have a direct educational interest and every right to review the case without consent," he said.

OS took a bunch of pictures at the Spring Game and if he ever gets off the farm again for a few minutes may even get them up somewhere. It appeared to be a big day for WVU recruiting on Saturday as four more recruits made pledges with WVU.
No less than four committed over the weekend - fullback-linebacker, Chris Snook, linebacker Branko Busick, wide receiver Deon Long and defensive end Dominik Davenport.

Snook, a 6-foot-3, 223-pounder from Highland High School in Medina, Ohio, picked West Virginia over Wake Forest and a handful of other offers that included Cincinnati and a bunch of Mid-American Conference schools. A sprinter on his school's track team, Snook will probably get his first look at the fullback-tight end hybrid.

Long is a 5-11, 176-pounder from Dunbar High School in Washington who had offers from Michigan State and Duke. Davenport is a 6-1, 245-pounder from Phoebus High School in Virginia, which is where WVU quarterback commitment Tajh Boyd plays. Davenport had offers from Maryland and Virginia. And Busick is a 6-1, 220-pound linebacker from across the Ohio River at Steubenville, Ohio.
More on Branko Busick here who is a longtime friend of current Mountaineer Zac Cooper. More on Chris Snook here:
While most schools looked at the 6-foot-3, 228-pound 17-year-old with a 375-pound bench press and drooled at the thought of a speed rushing linebacker, Mountaineers offensive coordinator Jim Mullen saw the second coming of graduated fullback Owen Schmitt.
Deon Long excerpt is here:
Deon Long, WR, Dunbar High (Baltimore), 6-0/180/4.50: Long has the quintessential receiver's mentality. "(The camp) is going good for me because nobody can check me," he confidently uttered during one of the breaks. "People were saying I couldn't get off of the jam, and I'm proving that I can against the best." Long showed deceptive speed, good hands and a desire to be physical. Michigan State was the first to offer him and is firmly entrenched in his top five.
The biggest catch, both in repuation and size, of the weekend was "Baby D" Dominik Davenport.
Dominik Davenport, the Daily Press Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-State pick as a junior, committed to the Mountaineers during an unofficial visit last weekend.

Davenport is on the same team as WVU pledge Tajh Boyd and friends with Logan Heastie. Both attended the Spring Game and brought friends and family with them. The family was nice, but the friends that also play football are better. One has already committed and more came along for a look at WVU. Out of the 6 early pledges 3 are from the Chesapeake/Hampton area VT has owned (3 of the top 4 according to Rivals), 2 are from Ohio, and one from DC. So over half are from areas that are not traditionally WVU strongholds which bodes well for the new staff in recruiting.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bill Stewart Gets It

From Blue Gold News:

“You saw where we tried to put the ball: over the ‘backers and in front of the safeties,” Stewart said. “We have to keep people off us and out of the box, and not just by throwing in the flats. We have to do more than throw bubble screens.”

Emphasis added.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Updates galore

Heather Bresch is still in attack mode as the AP ran a story written by West Virginia journalist Vicki Smith in which another Mylan employee just so happened to hear about the Bresch controversy and wanted to weigh in with the fact that she had 10 hours of independent study.

Speaker's comment to the AP "was in complete contrast with the arrangements he made for me," said Korczynski, a member of the first graduating class in the EMBA program. "He allowed me great flexibility and leniency in completing the requirements."

Korczynski, whose final semester also included four classes worth 10 credits, said she told her story to the investigating panel by telephone Wednesday.

Korczynski, 39, said she met Bresch, 38, for the first time last week. She went to the panel only to highlight an apparent contradiction, not to help a co-worker, she said.
Volley to Post Gazette. Response?
The situation involving Ms. Korczynski, who told the AP she was hired by Mylan in January as director of business development, appears to be different than the one that Ms. Bresch, daughter of West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, says she arranged. The E.M.B.A. program was designed in part to allow students to do course work outside the classroom, but Ms. Bresch told the AP last week that Mr. Speaker allowed her to substitute work experience for 10 credits.
The newspaper found officials added six courses and grades, worth 16 credits, to her transcript without any record of her registering, paying or doing the work for the classes, and without consulting the professors who taught the courses. In addition, two courses that had been marked "incomplete" were changed to letter grades.
So Mylan brings out a worker, hired in January, who pretends to have heard nothing of the story while working at Mylan to validate the Mylan story that working should equal class credit. Did I mention Mylan? However, the real story is that she was allowed to finish her classes remotely due to moving. This does not equal getting credit for doing nothing (they all work in that program) and having grades rewritten to the tune of over 20 credits.

One of the other ongong messes involving WVU is the Rodriguez lawsuit. Interesting developments in that as well this week. First the WVU Foundation, which was removed from the case as a third party by Judge Stone after being added in a Rodriguez cross-claim, has sued Rodriguez to get their legal costs back. The claim is that Rodriguez filed the claim friviously and knowingly without merit. Hard to prove unless someone is an idiot and runs around bragging about bringing a non-meritous claim. Opps.
"Mr. Robon (Rodriguez's lawyer) clearly suggested in an article in the Detroit Free Press that their reasons for naming the Foundation as a third party defendant was a 'key tactic' done to 'gain leverage' and 'equal the playing field.'"
"Mr. Robon's statements in the Detroit Free Press demonstrate that the filing of the third party complaint was done without a good faith argument for the extension, modification or reversal of existing law, but instead to annoy and inconvenience the Foundation and West Virginia University,"
Whether or not this wins it is funny that every "tactic" used by RRod is blowing up in his face. Such as this. Calvin Magee released the name of the person accused of making the racial statements to him. Remember the "bombshell" headline by Chuck Finder. MAGEE SAYS HE WANTED TO STAY AT WEST VIRGINIA BUT WASN'T TAKEN SERIOUSLY BECAUSE HE IS BLACK. Here is what Magee said yesterday:
"This is being made out to be a racial claim by the early reports. I've never made a racial 'claim,'" Magee said. "I listed some facts that occurred. How it is interpreted is up to the interpreter. Some facts that I stated in preparing for the bowl game. Some treatments by the president, some treatments by the athletic director. That's what I did. How it was printed and how it was relayed, it's just the facts.
But it gets even better as the accused racial pointer, Larry Aschebrook has not only denied the claims due to not being in the building on those days in question, but has stated he was offered a job at Michigan by Rodriguez. Why? Well the affidavit is a thing of beauty. First Aschebrook denies ever being in the building on the two days in question. Second is an alleged phone converstation between Aschebrook, Rodriguez, and Magee which is comedy on the highest level. Here are the good parts. Aschebrook calls up RRod and asks what's going on, that these statements are untrue and going to get him fired, and that the statements make him look racist and are fucked up. Rodriguez responds with this beauty. "No, WVU is fucked up they are suing me for $4million." Nice. Magee gets on the phone and Aschebrook asks why he is making up claims to which Magee responds that WVU treated him poorly (assumedly during the bowl prep) and "it's fucked up, you know it is." When asked why Magee had Greg Frey back up his story Magee states that Frey did not want Magee to look like a liar and that Frey knows the way WVU is. I guess WVU being "fucked up" makes it ok to label an innocent person a racist. Then the coup de grace comes fast and furious. Aschebrook states his worry about getting fired and not having the money they have to fall back on to which Rodriguez responds. "This isn't about you Larry, it's about me. You can't afford it, I can't afford it...I'm sorry about this, but it's business not friendship." Finally, when pressed Rodriguez said he would "tell the press that it had nothing to do with me (Aschebrook) will Calvin." When asked what to do after he was fired and labelled a racist Aschebrook was told Magee would tell the press that he was supportive and WVU used him as a scapegoat. How asks Aschebrook?

Aschebrook asked "You will tell who? Chuck Finder?" Rodriguez said, "Yes." Mr. Magee said, "Yeah, Chuck will help us." Hahahahaha. PPG story on this. Not written by Chuck Finder.

The take away is this. Rodriguez was at best a little manipulative and uncaring with Aschebrook. At worst he had Magee float a fake story potentially ruining a former friend's career. Either way Rodriguez apparently responds to any potential problem with an explitive ridden statement about WVU and asking "What about me? I'm being sued." And finally Chuck Finder will write what Rich Rodriguez tells him to write because he is a tool.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Kirk Herbstreit is on Crack

And probably a few other juicy narcotics. And I think I smell a hint of too much sun + White Russians.

Yup, Kirk is picking UConn to win the Big East in football this year. That UConn team that WV beat like a million to nothing when the Big East title was on the line last year. That UConn team that played the softest schedule in the known universe. That UConn team that needed a fake fair catch to beat Louisville.

Yeah, I got an eight ball this morning. When I get off work I'm going to do it all up and make a prediction that Syracuse is going undefeated and will beat USC in the title game. And people will still love me.....

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Round of Reubens

First a name I've never heard before. Damon McDaniel. McDaniel is from the Virginia Beach area and was one of the top recruited wide receivers in 2006. He completed his second year at Florida State last year with 4 catches and 7 for his career. In high school he was coached by Chris Beatty. None of this is really important until you read that McDaniel left FSU and is currently in community college while deciding where to go next.

“I’m still sorting through the recruiting process and have narrowed it down to Virginia Tech and West Virginia. I haven’t heard much at all from Virginia Tech.”
He just visited Morgantown unofficially last week. Unfortunately for him as of now WVU hasn't offered either. Might be time to expand the list.

In all-around sports news WVU is currently sitting 6th in the Director's Cup standings. The Director's Cup shows overall excellence within the athletic department. WVU has never finished higher than 41st in the overall standings.

Maybe Chuck Finder should file a story. Pitt suspended safety Sherod Murdock and possibly may have files charged against tackle Jason Pinkston for an alleged off-campus fight. After the fight Murdock may have been a little fired up. And since this is from a site citing an anonymous source we'll take the next step in "telephone" and say that Murdock was found completely naked and covered in blood riding an old atomic bomb through the dorm halls like Slim Pickens while shooting lazers out of his eys. Purple monkey cow poop.

Finally, one of the former WVU players that we never thought would be in trouble was Boo McLee. We take that one back now as McLee is headed to court on drug possession with intent to deliver.
State police filed the charge against Cleo Kevin "Boo" McLee, 24, of Uniontown, after a traffic stop. Police allege McLee, a minor league arena football player, had $506, marijuana and cocaine when he was pulled over in Uniontown for three alleged motor vehicle violations in October.
Not sure what the amount is that makes it intent to deliver in Pennsylvania or if the drugs were in Ingram-like individual baggies, but I'd use the "going to see the Crue" defense in this case.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Represent Our Great State

Not bad.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Good News/Bad News

All of these stories have a little of both today.

First the good news is that Joe Alexander did not hire an agent, but the bad news is that he has declared himself eligible for the draft.

As of now, I cannot see myself leaving because it would be very tough for me to miss a year playing with my teammates,"
The good news is that under Huggins it is likely for the higher caliber player to be more common at WVU. The bad news is that those guys don't normally stick around for 4 or 5 years.

More good news is that Heathergate is finally appearing to wind down. The bad news is that no matter what common sense tells you she and everyone else is going to get away with it by playing the "work experience" card. Heather spoke for the first time this week attempting to clear the path for that argument after the lost records and failing to pay the graduation fee didn't fly.
She said she cleared the work-experience-for-credit arrangement with Paul Speaker, the former head of WVU's EMBA program.
Speaker did not exactly give her a ringing endorsement however.
However, he said he cannot recall any instance in the history of the EMBA program when work experience substituted for course work.

"If you look through the annals of anything at the university, you will not find a single course for which experience would replace the course,'' he said. "If you were a CPA, you had to take our accounting. If you were an attorney, you had to take our business law. And it was very strict.''

Students worked in teams, he said, "and we felt the obligation of the individual to the team and to the whole class was very important.''
When coupled with the discrepancy in records it would appear to be enough to show that Heather hasn't proved she earned her degree. First she needed 22, not 10, credits as she has claimed. Secondly there is this:.
Her statement was the first time the explanation of work-related credits has been offered by Ms. Bresch or WVU, and does not coincide with changes WVU made to her record in October.

The Post-Gazette's review of university records found that after deciding to award the degree, WVU officials added six classes, worth 16 credits, to her transcript. Only one of the courses, worth four credits, was an independent study class that conceivably could have reflected work-related hours. The four independent study credits were recorded as having been earned in the summer of 1998, before Ms. Bresch says she spoke with Mr. Speaker.

The changes to the transcript also included awarding letter grades for two classes, worth six credits, that previously were recorded as incomplete.
But when something like this happens you just bring in the big guns to change the playing field and in this case his name is Mylan Puskar.
"I find it disheartening that a woman of Heather's integrity, character and extraordinary intellect has been attacked as she has been over the past four months,'' Puskar said in a statement to The Associated Press late Wednesday.

"It's particularly troublesome because, if not for Heather, it's likely we would not have an Executive MBA program at WVU,'' said Puskar, who seldom issues personal statements. "... She certainly helped pioneer the program 12 years ago, and it has since benefited the university, virtually hundreds of students and many businesses.''

Meanwhile, WVU's chief academic officer said Wednesday that many departments allow students to use work experience to meet graduation credit requirements, either as electives or for the core curriculum.
So now an unnamed source is already on record saying that it is common for the credits to stand after Speaker has said it never happens and Puskar has stated she started the program by herself, built the Heath Sciences Center by hand, and saved 6 kittens from a house fire while teaching crippled children to read.

More bad news. John Prescott "resigned" this week as the Dean of the School of Medicine yet he is staying on staff. Why?
At the end of the day, this is just someone who has done some soul searching and made a personal decision about what he wants to do,” said Fred Butcher, the president of the Health Sciences Center.
Prescott would have given a statement, but dead men tell no tales. The over/under on his "new" position as a professor of emergency medicine is 3 months. And the new dean. Probably going to need West Virginia ties would be the guess here. No good news with this one.

Back to sports. Good news is that Huggins and Stewart both have West Virginia ties. The bad news is that neither has a contract.
"At some point we'll have a detailed contract completed," Pastilong said, adding that the term sheets are legal and binding. Term sheets are often used as templates for contracts.
Yes, they are used as templates, but not as the contracts themselves for years on end. Good lord.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Mens Top 25

Rivals releases projected top 25 for next year, with eight Big East schools in the mix. The Mounties are in at 17.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Round of Reubens

I had the opportunity to attend the first scrimmage on Saturday during the coaching clinic and here are the random thoughts from the experience. First of the coaches were extremely approachable. Stewart stopped to make sure we had enjoyed the experience and learned something while apologizing for going too long on his discussion of special teams that morning. I watched as a coach came up to Jeff Mullens and started big timing him with stories of his coaching glory. Mullens listened patiently the entire time and then at the end gave the man his name which must have not been recognized. He got a little embarrassed when Mullens blew the whistle and took the offensive reigns as he was standing there. Made that big onsides kick call in '03 he was talking about sound a little less important. The offensive coaches were more soft spoken while the defensive coaches were definitely more in your face. However, all were placing a heavy emphasis on fundamentals. Especially Galloway with the wide receivers, Lockwood with the defensive backs, and Mullen with the quarterbacks. Probably all areas of need:

"Coach [Bill Stewart is] a good man. It's like coach Stew lets the position coach teach you up like you're supposed to. Coach Rod used to come teach us and wouldn't let coach [Tony] Gibson do his job. Coach Stew sits back and lets coach [David] Lockwood do his job."
The young players that stood out were Brandon Hogan, Will Johnson and Bradley Starks. Hogan was playing on all three different offensive squads in the slot and made some plays both in space and down the field. After moving Thor Merrow from defensive line to the fullback/tightend earlier this spring it appears that Will Johnson may end up beating him out for the spot. Johnson and Evan Rodriguez have both been moved recently and Johnson was the more physical during the scrimmage and apparently has been making plays in all the practices. Word is that Charlie Russell has been injured. He better get well soon if he wants a shot at the third qb slot as Starks looks like PW running around out there and made some plays with his arm. Starks is also getting some reps at the receiver position.

With three linemen out for the spring and Devine playing only the first series the defense was slightly ahead of the offense in the scrimmage. The offense looked very similar to previous seasons. The passing game is flooding the zone quite often and while the checkdown was used primarily during the scrimmage there is a deep option and a middle option as well. The running backs are in need of reinforcements. Jock Sanders worked with the first group in the beginning. After him it was a committee in which no one stood out or made anyone miss. Hopefully part of that is good defense.

In basketball news recruit Kevin Jones was named a parade All-American. He is believed to be the fifth Parade All-American to sign with WVU since 1985 or the same total as the starting five for Duke.

And since the castle didn't work out for you BSR maybe you can get Rich's old house. A steal at $10,763/month.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Supreme Court Circus

When John Grisham writes a novel about your state Supreme Court there may be something wrong. There are four parties in play in this clusterfuck. Don Blankenship, "Spike" Maynard, Brent Benjamin, and Larry Starcher. At stake is hundreds of millions of dollars juries have given companies in verdicts against Massey Energy that are being appealed to the high court of the state.

Last week the Court sided with Massey Energy 3-2 to overturn a $77 million decision. The deciding vote was cast by Benjamin after both Maynard and Startcher recused themselves from the case. Benjamin appointed the replacements and, as acting chief justice, was able to decide who wrote the majority opinion which is huge when deciding how broad to go in cases of law. Benjamin defeated Warren McGraw in 2004 largely on the back of the And for the Sake of the Kids advertising which stated that McGraw had the deciding vote to let a child molester go free. The case actually swung on whether to revoke probation for Tony Arbaugh after he tested for marijuana and alcohol. Arbaugh had been convicted of abuse of his brother at age 14, but the Court ruled 3-2 for probation and then did not revoke due to Arbaugh being only 18 and having been a victim of abuse starting from the age of 7. Blankenship, CEO of Massey, contributed almost 70% of the amount raised for And for the Sake of the Kids.

Meanwhile Maynard was famously photographed in Monoco with Blankenship as the appeal was about to be heard. ABC news has investigated and of course Blankenship used this opportunity to remind everyone of southern hospitality and gentlemanly manners.

"If you're going to start taking pictures of me, you're liable to get shot,"
After roughing up the reporter Blankenship stated:
"The notion that I have taken any action to improperly influence the Supreme Court of West Virginia is baseless and absurd."
Maynard is up for re-election this year and is attempting to distance himself from Blankenship. And he is offering proof:
Maynard also contends that he has voted against the Richmond, Va.-based Massey more often than voting in its favor, offering a list of 16 cases.
That is solid right?
The Associated Press earlier identified eight published opinions by the Supreme Court in which Maynard sided with Massey, dissenting from the majority's ruling in half of them. Maynard's list is shy four of those cases, including the November decision vacating a $76 million judgment won against the coal producer by Harman Mining.

Meanwhile the main anti-Blankenship force on the Court is Larry Starcher. Starcher recused himself from the last Massey case because he had made some inflammatory remarks about Blankenship including calling Blankenship a cancer on the courts, stupid, and a clown.

If all this isn't enough get ready for more as more cases hit the Supreme Court.
Massey Energy Co. believes a recent interview of West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Larry Starcher by ABC News strengthens its argument that he should recuse himself from its appeal of a $240 million judgment won against it by Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp.
And people in the country believe that the court system is the non-political branch of government.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Dean McConnell

Joyce McConnell was named the new Dean of the WVU School of Law today, from the State Bar release:

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - A legal scholar and nationally-recognized leader in legal education has been named the new dean of the West Virginia University College of Law.

Joyce E. McConnell, associate dean for academic affairs and endowed professor of law at the College, has accepted the position after an extensive, nationwide search to replace outgoing dean, John W. Fisher II. She is only the second woman to serve as dean of the College of Law in its 130 year history.

McConnell will assume the role effective July 1 and brings a background of academic excellence, teaching experience and policy development to the position.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to tap into the legal knowledge and teaching expertise we have right here in the current program," said WVU President Mike Garrison, a 1996 graduate from WVU's College of Law. "Joyce brings a great deal of passion for education, having instructed legal scholars for over two decades, and knowledge of policy development and administration. She has assured me that she will lead our law school into the 21st century and upward in the rankings. This is an exciting time for us because it is a time of change. Much effort will be put into substantially upgrading our facilities as well as raising the national stature of the College."

WVU Provost Gerald Lang said that McConnell's familiarity with the WVU program will provide her an advantage in leading the program.

"She is familiar with the faculty, the alumni and the legacy of the WVU College of Law. This will give her a substantial advantage as she pursues new successes and manages the challenges," he said. "As a highly respected member of the legal and teaching community, she has amassed an impressive record in teaching, research and service, in publication, and in policy development."

The WVU College of Law has an unbroken tradition of academic excellence and a commitment to mission through 130 years of service to the legal education needs of its students and the residents of the State of West Virginia.

"West Virginia University College of Law is an outstanding law school thanks to its talented students, gifted faculty of teacher-scholars, dedicated staff, committed alumni, and a decade of superb leadership by Dean John Fisher," said McConnell. "I consider it a privilege and honor to lead this special community as its new dean and look forward to building on the law school's tradition of excellence."

McConnell joined the WVU College of Law in 1995, where she has served as a professor of law teaching courses in land-use planning, natural resources and negotiations. She served as associate dean of academic affairs from 1998-2001 and again from 2006 to today.

She has been the recipient of the West Virginia Law Review Outstanding Faculty Contribution Award and the WVU Mary Catherine Buswell and Women's Law Caucus awards.

Andrea Marano, a 2006 graduate of the WVU College of Law, said in an email supporting McConnell's candidacy: "Joyce McConnell is the most qualified candidate for the position not only because of her academic background and dedication to the law school, but also because she is highly respected by ... individuals who are important to the general and financial growth of the law school. Dean McConnell's leadership and charisma are apparent in all that she does. (Her) intelligence and scholarship are only two of her great assets. Her approach to issues and her interactions with the community, however, are most remarkable and should be given great weight as you consider her qualifications."

McConnell received her master of law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1990, a juris doctor degree from the Antioch School of Law in 1982 and bachelor's degree from Evergreen State College in 1979.

The finalists for Dean can be found here. It is interesting that as with all things in this state it became apparent during the interview process that the "West Virginia" ties and knowledge of West Viginia became all important. At first that seemed to be a possible hinderence for McConnell, but one she must have overcome. While not the candidate I would have picked given no boundaries, we'll give her some time to prove the committee right or wrong. I mean that seems to have worked out well with Garrison. /hits self in head with log.

Pa Pa Pants Man

Which is better the real one, or the new one?

The Morgantown Address

Tummysticks last post inspired me to pen the following. Partial credit must be given to Abe Lincoln.

Four score and eight months ago, our AD brought forth for this program a new nation, conceived in bubble-screens, and dedicated to the proposition that all Mountaineers should have red and green wristbands.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great legal battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, to Mylan Puskar, and to the love of Mountaineer athletics and Mylan’s money. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, both free and those occassionally imprisoned or suspended , who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what Coach Dick Rod said or claims, but it can never forget what glory the West Virginia Mountaineers attained here. It is for us the proud West Virginia fans, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who played here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored athletes, we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these players shall not have played in vain—that this nation, under Bill Stewart, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that football of the Mountaineers, by the Mountaineers, for the Mountaineers, shall not perish from Morgantown, but win Championships for us all.

Former Mountaineers in Court

And it isn't a post about PacMan or Henry.

Despite the amount of coverage it has received there is nothing exciting or significant going on in the RR trial yet (and probably not this year if they don't hurry). The Foundation was removed since they were never a party despite RR's camp trying to write them in with a third party claim, the fraudulent inducement claim will be allowed to continue for now with the burden of proof still on RR to show "the use of deceit or trick to cause someone to act to his/her disadvantage, such as signing an agreement or deeding away real property. The heart of this type of fraud is misleading the other party as to the facts upon which he/she will base his/her decision to act," RR must still overcome a merger clause which will state that only warranties within the contract were relied upon and the fact he employed counsel to oversee these things, and the last decision was that WVU attorneys can get a look at the Michigan correspondence to see just when the meetings took place.

Here are the only fireworks from yesterday:

"It's like back before the Civil War when slaves had the right to buy their freedom," said Marv Robon, one of Rodriguez's lawyers. "A penalty of $4 million is almost like a slave from Africa trying to buy his freedom in America. I think it's an outrageous amount. It's just not fair and it's not related to any damages the university is suffering."
Not bad coming from the camp that has played the race card (with Magee) already. Of course RR signed a similar contract with a similar provision at Michigan so it just proves that the self-hatred that slavery produces is so ingrained that one never truly can love themselves. I only hope that RR can overcome this institutionalized degradation of being held against his will from his time of capture (remember RR running free in the fields of Africa before his confinement), with his son separated at birth and sold to Washington State University, his forced work, and lack of compensation (if you look past the millions of dollars which doesn't count) and can someday live in a world where he isn't property but able to move from school to school while interviewing on the school owned airplane during the season (twice), make horrible entrance videos featuring Metallica, throwing the bubble screen 75% of the time, and most important being able to blame execution of his players following every poor performance without taking any blame whatsoever. If he can do all that (and still be paid $2 million or more per year) then, and only then, will RR truly be free.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Chris Henry and other criminals

It's been awhile since Henry made any news. Good thing he likes to drink and smash.

Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry has been accused of punching an 18-year-old man in the face and breaking his car window with a beer bottle, according to court documents filed Wednesday.
Henry likes them young and that goes in the bedroom too ladies. He served two days in jail for letting minors drink in his hotel room. My guess here is that the young man just didn't want to stay the night and that made Mr. Henry sad. When asked for comment on the punch/window smashing Henry's agent had this to say:
"I was told it didn't happen that way," Frazier said.
Well that clears everything up.

Maybe Henry needs a coach that understands him. Like this dude:
A Hofstra assistant football coach was suspended with pay by the university after being charged with misdemeanor assault. Assistant defensive backs coach Kahmal Roy was charged Monday for his part in a fight that broke out after a recreation league touch-football game. The 28-year-old Roy punched 57-year-old Stephen Malone as they were shaking hands after a game Sunday, Nassau County police said. Roy said through a spokesman that Malone started the fight by spitting on him. Malone denies spitting and tells Newsday that he suffered a broken face bone and a knee injury.

A sad day for Southern WV nudie bars as the owner of several Southern XPosure clubs was sentenced to more than three years for income tax evasion and fraud. One of those is near a Biscuit World, but BSR would never let me eat there (or the Biscuit World). The ladies will be dancing with heavy hearts this week and a black patch over their left nipple to remember Mr. Cline. Note: patch will probably come off in the jacuzzi room.

Finally, speaking of cocks the WV Humane Society thinks we'll see more of them in the state as Virginia has made cockfighting a felony while it is only a misdemeanor in WV. WV has considered toughening the laws, but has put it off as part of the state being "Open for Business."

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

WVU 2008 recruiting finalized

Yesterday WVU officials announced the final additions to the 2008 class when center/guard Benji Kemoeatu and tailback Mark Rodgers signed with the Mountaineers. On Benji:

Kemoeatu, 6-foot-4, 325 pounds, hails from Kahuku, Hawaii, where he was an all-state pick. He played both guard and center and was a two-time first-team all-state selection. Kemoeatu was rated the No. 2 football prospect in Hawaii and was ranked among the top 12 offensive guards in the nation after helping Kahuku win two state championships. His two brothers played in the NFL: Maake with the Carolina Panthers and Chris with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
And on Rodgers:
As a senior at Leuzinger High School in Lawndale, Calif., in 2006, Rodgers ran for 2,319 yards and 19 touchdowns in 11 games. That season he began with just 107 combined yards in the first two games and then averaged 245.7 yards over the final nine games. Rodgers was named All-Los Angeles County League Player of the Year, region co-player of the year and was an all-state selection. As a junior in 2005, Rodgers ran for 2,400 yards and scored 31 touchdowns. He reportedly ran a 10.57 100-meter dash as a senior in high school, placing fourth in the California state meet.
He also once reportedly jumped over the Golden Gate Bridge and knocked down a building by punching it. All reports are believed to have come from the Rodgers household.

In addition to the recruits, which brings the current number to 28 so either some aren't going to make it in academically or be grey shirted as 25 is the max, Devon Lyons (brother of Wes) is transferring to WVU from Ohio State for his senior year. Because he won a "hardship" case, moving closer to home due to family circumstances (his father is sick), Devon will be eligible this coming year.

The current, and probably final, rankings for WVU recruiting for the year are 42 for Rivals and 36 for Scout. WVU went very hard for defense this year especially the defensive line. Yet late the Mountaineers still secured two big-time linemen in Jenkins and Kemoeatu (along with two other linemen signings of Josh Bassler from Maryland and Joey Madsen from Ohio) and three running backs (Kerns, JUCO Zach Hulce, and Rodgers) including two late to give depth. The signings do not doom the chances of Ed Collington ever seeing the field again, but make it less likely he will be reinstated.

Finally, last year there was talk of having both PW and Jarrett Brown on the field at the same time. It was another possibility lost in the bubble-screen/run Pat White up the middle-apolloza of the offense late in the year. The two-QB package talk has been rekindled this year. Of course that all goes away if the experimentation with bubble screens turns into an addiction. Damn you bubble screens.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Round of Reubens

Congratulations to Joe Alexander for making AP honorable mention All-America. Don't think too many people would have believed you if you had told them Joe would do that in mid-January. Even if they knew that 47 people made the honorable mention team. Damn that is almost is many as the All-Big East squad.

The football team is back to practice this week and Jarrett Brown has re-joined the team in time to start throwing bombs. Everything sounds like you'd want to hear coming from Stewart so far regarding the passing game:

“We haven’t been getting the ball on the deep-zone throws,” Stewart said. “We’re trying to get the ball down the field in the middle of the field as everyone has been harping on us to throw it down the middle like we did in the bowl game a little bit.

“When they go cover three there are deep seams in the back and we have not been attacking that area and I was really, really pleased to see Jarrett get in there and throw those,” Stewart said. “Pat (White) went in and had a couple of nice throws, too.”
Except maybe this:
“It’s really the same stuff but there is a lot of window dressing with our motion and movement that is new,” Stewart said. “The flood routes we’re doing; getting the ball out on the flanks with the blockers. We’re doing bubble screens with (Jock) Sanders and it’s like we’ve got trucks out there blocking for him. It’s a new screen offense and schematically a flooding zone new offense.”
Watch yourself Bill. It's a slippery slope. One day your throwing the ball all around and stretching the defense all over the field and then you mix in a bubble screen just to try it because all the cool kids are doing it. Next thing you know you're at a truck stop fighting trannies for the right to give truckers a handjob to make some scratch for the next bubble screen. Just be careful.

One team that may fall victim to many bubble screens is Liberty University. The Flames have been signed as the opening game for WVU football in 2009.
Liberty hasn’t won a game against an FBS opponent since beating Eastern Michigan in 1989. The Flames led Toledo 34-22 heading into the fourth quarter last season before losing 35-34.
Liberty is a fundamentalist Baptist university located in Lynchburg, Virginia. The Flames (great name for a religous school) went 8-3 last year and won the Big South Conference. Reasons for this game? Stewart might want attend a church service there in return? Home game? Oh yes, easy win in VA area. Of course recruits probably won't care too much about that, but maybe WVU coaches get down there to "scout" and do some recruiting on the way.

Finally, it appears that Joe Paterno has decided to keep coaching Penn State football. Even if it means he actually isn't employed by PSU. Paterno, on the last year of his current contract and being pressured for a succession plan, had this to say recently:
“If I’ve got to have a contract to keep my job here, I’m working in the wrong place”
Should Penn State bring in a new head coach next year you can bet he'll wake up from a nap on his office couch to see Joe rifling through the desk or calling up recruits on a rotary phone. And it will be awkward 10 years from now when the coach has to explain who the crazy old guy in knee pants (it might rain later) and glasses is giving a pep talk in the corner to stuffed animals before the game.

I'd rather have a homerun

This one probably belongs on either Fire Joe Morgan or Awful Announcing more than here, but here goes. Last night during the travesty that was a AAA Pirates-Braves game the Bucs took a 5-run lead late into the ninth. Pirate color analyst Steve Blass made the following observation which is inexplicable.

When having a big lead late in the game, giving up a homerun is better for the pitcher than walking the batter. Now I could have let it go, but he did it again in the 12th when the Buccos had a three run lead going into the inning.

Here is what he may have meant. Throwing strikes it better in that situation than walking the batter because even the best home-run hitter only averages a big fly once every 8 at bats or so (50 HRs in 400 ABs = good season) or 12% of the time. He also makes outs at least 65% of the time. Since a run can't tie the game it is better to try to get the out than give in and walk the batter. That makes sense. The other is preposterous.

The reasoning by Blass follows. 1. Lead-off walks lead to big innings; 2. A walk forces the infield to play differently than normal; 3. The outfielders will be thinking about their throws and not the game; and 4. The pitcher must go from the stretch and maybe their confidence is shaken. Let's take these one at a time.

1. This doesn't make sense. I'll show you. Ask any person you see today that watches baseball if they would rather have their team hit a lead off home-run in every inning the next game or have the lead off guy walk (which could lead to 9 "big-innings"). I bet they take option 1 since you get 9 guaranteed runs. The reasoning is simple. Once the guy hits the homerun you have a run. A walked batter can still make an out a variety of ways. Caught stealing, picked off, caught trying to take an extra base, forced out, double play, interference, etc. The guy who hit the homerun can only sit and drink Gatorade. Another scenario; your team trails by 4 going into the ninth. Would you rather have your team hit three straight solo homers or three straight walks to start the inning? Both situations bring the tying run to the plate, but only in one situation can a pitcher get out of the inning with a single pitch.

2. The infield doesn't have to play differently. If the run is meaningless (the point of the "give up the home run" strategy) just play the infield at normal depth. Or have your pitcher balk three times to get the run in and the runner off the field. Better yet have your catcher throw the ball into right field on ball four while the entire outfield runs to sign autographs. Why don't people do this? Because it would be stupid to give up the run even if it is meaningless when you could get an extra out on a linedrive or hard hit ground ball.

3. That doesn't deserve a response other than if your outfielders are so dumb they can't catch the ball while thinking about a potential cut-off throw they probably endorse this strategy of walks being deadlier than a home run.

4. Once again have the pitcher wind up. Who cares if the guy steals 2nd, 3rd, and home? If the run is meaningless just forget about him (note this does happen sometimes in games). And while you are doing that the runner could still fall down and be tagged out or get doubled up on a pop-out. Neither of which could happen if he hit a home run to start the inning. The confidence thing may be true. If a guy can't throw strikes his confidence will be shaken. Especially three walks in a row. But, you know what else could cause a confidence slippage? Giving up three straight homeruns to start an inning. At least the first guy can still get a double play with one pitch and hasn't given up a run yet. The second guy is probably scared to throw strikes now and could walk the next batter which will probably cause a "big inning."

Note: After searching around on FJM I found out they had a similar discussion last year (with of all people Tim McCarver surprised that a study showed more big innings start with homeruns over walks) and guess what? Statistics show that you are more likely to score 2+ runs in an inning starting out with a homerun over a walk.