Tuesday, May 30, 2023

WATCH: WVU Welcomes Big 12 Trophy to Morgantown

The West Virginia University Baseball team won a share of the 2023 Big 12 Regular Season Championship. They welcomed the trophy home today.   Morgantown, WV - Following a Big 12 Regular Season Championship, the WVU Baseball team finally had the opportunity to welcome the conference’s trophy home today in a moment the team shared on social media. https://twitter.com/wvubaseball/status/1663268289135476736?s=46&t=cXIQ4JQG-pp-P6qrRwLwjw Watch the Mountaineers celebrate their incredible accomplishment in the tweet above. WVU takes on Indiana in the Lexington, Kentucky Region to begin the NCAA Tournament. They finished the season 39-18. (Photo by WVU Athletics)

Opponent Set for WVU’s Tournament Appearance

WVU Baseball has been selected to the NCAA Tournament. Who will they face in the Lexington, Kentucky region?   Morgantown, WV - The WVU Baseball team is set to compete in the 2023 NCAA Tournament. Earlier today, it was announced that the Mountaineers will be the 2nd-seed in the Lexington, Kentucky region Kentucky, the region’s 1st-seed, will take on 4th-seed Ball State to get things started. West Virginia will do battle with the 3rd-seed Hoosiers from Indiana. https://twitter.com/ncaabaseball/status/1663217582902583296?s=46&t=cXIQ4JQG-pp-P6qrRwLwjw The Lexington region will face-off against one another from June 2nd to 5th. Stay tuned to The Voice of Motown for updates. (Photo by WVU Athletics) 

Major Program Ready to Commit to the Big 12 “Soon”

According to multiple sources, Colorado is ready to join the Big 12 "soon."  MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- It is offseason in college athletics so conference realignment and expansion talk heats up during this time, but it now appears that one school is ready to make a big move. Big 12 sources informed Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman this past week that Colorado is is ready to commit to joining the Big 12 “soon.” The New York Post reported that ESPN and the PAC-12 are having "no substantive talks" about extending the league's television contract, which expires in the Summer of 2024, and Colorado (and perhaps other PAC-12 teams) are looking elsewhere to secure a future for their programs. If Colorado jumps to the Big 12, it's expected that other schools in the PAC-12 (Arizona, Arizona State and Utah) could soon follow. If this is true, the Big 12 will dramatically expand to the West, which isn't particularly great news for West Virginia University. A far better option for West Virginia would be if the ACC were to dissolve and the Big 12 poached several of their current programs, like traditional and geographic rivals of the Mountaineers like Virginia Tech, Pitt and Louisville. https://twitter.com/Heartland_CS/status/1661190386373517313?s=20

Perfect Realignment Scenario Unfolding for West Virginia

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Conference realignment talk has heated up over the past several days and many of the scenarios discussed would greatly benefit West Virginia University. One such scenario has the ACC imploding with the SEC and Big Ten poaching several current members of the ACC. According to Greg Swaim, who has accurately predicted several conference realignment issues, the SEC and Big Ten will likely attempt to poach Florida State, Clemson, North Carolina, Virginia and Miami, leaving several current members searching for a home. This, of course, would leave Louisville, Pitt, Virginia Tech and NC State for the Big 12 Conference after the SEC and Big Ten poach the other schools. As Swaim put it, "West Virginia would be thrilled with renewing the old rivalries and cutting down on their frequent flier miles." Several members of the ACC are reportedly unhappy with the current television contract that doesn't expire until 2036 and would like to leave the conference. If eight teams agree to exit the conference, the contract could be voided, leaving the schools to seek a new home in another conference. https://twitter.com/GSwaim/status/1658914662140846101?s=20

JJ Wetherholt Makes Decision on Future

(Photo by WVU Athletics)  Star WVU baseball player JJ Wetherholt is expected to be highly sought after this offseason. After putting together a solid 2023 season so far, accumulating 15 home runs, 56 RBIs, a .466 batting average, and 35 stolen bases, many assume that other programs will reach out to him with NIL money. While most players would jump on that opportunity, it doesn’t appear Wetherholt will be one of them. The sophomore confirmed on the 3 Guys Before the Game podcast that he will return in 2024. https://twitter.com/3Guys__/status/1658592471004200966?s=20 “I’m not going anywhere.” During the discussion with Brad Howe, Hoppy Kercheval, and Tony Caridi, Wetherholt claimed that his status moving forward “shouldn’t even be in question.” He intends on finishing his career with the Mountaineers. This is great news for Mountaineer Nation, whose fandom for baseball has been rejuvenated with the team’s success!

REPORT: ACC Falling Apart

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- According to Greg Swaim of The Swaim Show, the ACC is on the brink of collapsing. This after the University of Louisville reportedly became the 8th program in the ACC to agree to leave the conference. In order for the ACC's Grant of Rights to be invalid, eight programs must agree to leave the conference and with Louisville joining current ACC members Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia and Virginia Tech, it appears they now have the numbers to void the Grant of Rights deal which doesn't expire until 2036. This is a very big first step in the end of the ACC Conference. https://twitter.com/GSwaim/status/1658494618458116096?s=20

The Big 20 (XX) Conference

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- According to multiple sources, several current ACC teams are unhappy with the current television deal and the conference could soon fall apart. Brett McMurphy, a college football insider with Action Network HQ,  reported yesterday that current ACC members Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia and Virginia Tech have come together to form the “Magnificent 7” and met with lawyers to examine grant-of-rights to determine just how unbreakable it is. The current Grant of Rights ACC deal runs through 2036 and teams in the ACC will far behind other conferences (namely the SEC, Big Ten and even the Big 12) in terms of yearly revenue. With that said, it's very likely that the ACC could dissolve soon. In order for the current grant of rights to fall apart, only eight teams would have to agree to leave the conference. Right now, there are reportedly those seven aforementioned programs ready to leave and only need one more to make it official. If that happens, Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina and Virginia will likely end up in either the SEC or the Big Ten Conferences, leaving Virginia Tech, Pitt, Boston College, Syracuse, NC State and Georgia Tech searching for a new home. If/when the ACC dissolves, the Big 12 Conference is reportedly interested in adding Virginia Tech, Pitt, Louisville and NC State. This would be ideal for West Virginia because it would give the Mountaineers geographical and traditional rivals within the Big 12. Under this scenario, there would likely be two divisions within the Big 12 Conference, with the assumption that the Big 12 will also add current PAC 12 teams Utah, BYU, Arizona and Arizona State, which has been rumored to eventually happen. East Division West Virginia Pitt Virginia Tech Louisville Cincinnati NC State UCF Iowa State Kansas State Kansas West Division Houston TCU Baylor Texas Tech Oklahoma State Colorado Utah BYU Arizona State Arizona https://twitter.com/voicemorgantown/status/1658472533514149892?s=20

ACC Close to Falling Apart, Old Big East Reuniting?

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Expansion news is heating up once again! According to Brett McMurphy, current ACC members Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia and Virginia Tech have come together to form the "Magnificent 7" and met with lawyers to examine grant-of-rights to determine just how unbreakable it is. The current Grant of Rights ACC deal runs through 2036. Apparently all seven are very unhappy with the current deal and are exploring ways to get out of the ACC. Those seven schools are ready to exit, according to The Swaim Show, and just need an 8th team to join in order to end it. The Swaim Show went on to say that the Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark is "well aware of the situation and is acting accordingly." If the ACC falls apart, several former Big East schools like Pitt, Syracuse, Boston College and Louisville would be left searching for a new home. If the Big 12 sweeps in and grabs those four schools, they could potentially form an eastern division of the conference with geographic and traditional rivals for West Virginia. Stay tuned to The Voice of Morgantown for all the latest, breaking news on conference realignment!   https://twitter.com/Brett_McMurphy/status/1658174167789756433?s=20 https://twitter.com/GSwaim/status/1658198662785187840?s=20  

Morgantown LGBTQ+ Community Responds to Bob Huggins

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Following Bob Huggins' insensitive remarks on live radio yesterday, the LGBTQ+ Community in Morgantown has asked that he resigned immediately. In a statement released on their public social media account, "MorgantownPride" said the following: "Morgantown Pride is horrified and disgusted by the rhetroic espoused by Coach Bob Huggins. Using homophobic slurs and making light of transgender inclusion in sporting events is completely unacceptable behavior. Bob Huggins is a national public figure that represents our beautiful community when he speaks. We believe that this rhetoric does not represent the welcoming and vibrant LGBTQ+ supporitive community that our elected officials and activists have worked hard to cultivate. Morgantown Pride calls for WVU Athletics to at a bare minimum schedule a Safe Zone training for Bob Huggins and the rest of his staff. We believe that this incident requires the termination of Bob Huggins as this type of rhetoric creates a space in which students, community members and most especially players are NOT SAFE. However, if WVU Athletics chooses the wrong path and does not ask Bob Huggins to resign, the culture that he has obviously cultivated in which individuals feel so comfortable saying homophobic slurs that they would do so whilst being interviewed, requires significant investment of both time and labor to correct. At Morgantown Pride, we will continue to work hard to advocate for our community and create safe spaces which individuals can feel comfortable expressing every beautiful part of their identity. Those wishing to share any testimonials privately that we can to uplift to bring light to any further issues with homophobia or transphobia within WVU Athletics, please know that we will uplift your story respectfully. In love and solidarity, Morgantown Pride Board." https://twitter.com/motownwvpride/status/1655783759789080576?s=20

Pat McAfee Shares Huge Personal News

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — Moments ago, former West Virginia Mountaineers punter/kicker turned media mogul Pat McAfee made a big announcement on his social media account. McAfee, 36, and his wife Samantha, have welcomed their first child. McAfee shared a picture of his daughter’s foot with the following message: “Today’s the day that my wife and I have been dreaming of. I can’t wait to see where this foot gets to go beautiful girl. WE LOVE YOU. Baby and Momma are both healthy. Momma and I are floating with joy. This is amazing. Thanks for all the good vibes.” https://twitter.com/wrenbaker/status/1654149241445523456?s=46&t=USDKe35TLtcCPitgUlQ1PA

Mountaineer Student-Athlete Has Passed Away

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Ben Salas, a member of the West Virginia rifle team who recently committed to the Mountaineers after transferring from NC State, has died. Salas, 21, committed suicide. In an interview with WRAL News in North Carolina, Salas' parents were of course shocked and never saw anything that would lead them to believe that he was suicidal: "I don’t know what we missed, if we missed anything at all, there weren’t any red flags, there weren’t any indicators that he was going down the decision path he was going,” Tony Salas said of his son, Ben. “Everything was so on track, he had big plans.” “We’re just shocked,” Tony Salas told WRAL News. “We’re shocked, and we’re confused, and we’re devastated, and we’re forever changed.” When Salas signed with the Mountaineers last month, West Virginia rifle coach Jon Hammond had the following to say about him: "We are really excited to add Ben to our team and welcome him to the Mountaineer family," Hammond said. "We have watched him improve and work hard for three years and really take some steps forward this year with impressive results and qualifying as an individual for the NCAA Championship." https://twitter.com/WVURifle/status/1653403909187092482?s=20

Things Have Changed (for the better) Since Shane Lyons Left

Morgantown, West Virginia - West Virginia has suddenly, unexpectedly become a major player in the ever-changing world of college athletics and the playing field is now finally level. Since the inception of NIL, West Virginia has been seen as too poor, not innovative enough and doomed to fail in a disastrous fashion. Over the past several years, West Virginia has been slow to adapt and evolve in today's landscape, and the athletic programs have suffered because of it. Shane Lyons, the former director of athletics for the Mountaineers, had a background in compliance. Following rules and staying out of trouble was the most important aspect of running the athletic department for Lyons. While other programs around the country - let's use Kentucky as an example - were stretching and bending the rules, West Virginia was strictly abiding by them. That's very noble, but it makes it virtually impossible to compete with the programs who are finding loopholes and ways around the rules. When Shane Lyons was fired, he met with university president Gordon Gee and this was essentially the reason he was given for his dismissal. "I asked President Gee, ‘Why are we making the change?’” Lyons said. “One thing that came up was him saying, ‘We’re not aggressive enough in Name, Image and Likeness.’” Lyons went on to say, "The Trust (Country Roads Trust) wanted us to be involved in a number of different areas where we just can’t be,” Lyons said. “I was not going to cross the line to jeopardize the integrity of the department in federal funding. I was willing to go up to the line as much as I could, to promote it and be involved. I support NIL 100%. That’s just a different pot of money. In speeches I give, I tell people they have three choices . They give it to scholarships, to operations and capital projects or to the Trust. They wanted our coaches to be more involved. I understand they wanted us to help identify fundraisers, and that’s where there can be a problem. We can do education, which we do, tax and contract litigation for our student athletes. We do that. But making the deal itself, we can’t get involved in that. If we start making the deal or identifying sponsors or those to give to the trust, we are getting closer and closer to running into Title IX implications.” And there you have it. Lyons was hesitant to adapt and bend the rules and find loopholes, which unfortunately is absolutely necessary in today's world. One of the first things that new director of athletics Wren Baker did in his new role was advertise Country Roads Trust by doing an interview with them. He spoke of how the trust could benefit the program and its student-athletes and almost spoke of it in terms of a partnership without actually using the word "partnership." Bob Huggins' willingness and ability to find loopholes in the system has landed him two of the very best players available in the transfer portal in Kerr Kriisa and Jesse Edwards. Both are foreign players and although the exact loophole is unclear, West Virginia clearly found a way around the rules that prevent international players from being paid the same as American-born players. In other words, West Virginia has not only started to become willing to play the game, they have also started paying players more than other universities. If the rumors are true of Kriisa and Edwards making hundreds of thousands of dollars to play basketball for the Mountaineers, it's hard to imagine that that would have happened under Lyons. With a very organized, well-oiled machine in the Country Roads Trust collective, as well as the university's willingness to do whatever it takes to compete with the very best programs from around the country, the Mountaineers are now in position to be competitive and actually start winning again.

Jesse Edwards Has Made His Decision

Morgantown, West Virginia - The West Virginia Mountaineers have officially landed one of the top players in the transfer portal! Jesse Edwards, a 6'11 center from Syracuse, is a five star transfer and the #5 overall player in the transfer portal. Edwards averaged 14.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game for the Orange last season. He also shot 59.2% from the floor and 72.9% from the free throw line. Edwards entered the transfer portal on Tuesday, set up his first (and only) visit to West Virginia, visited Morgantown and has now committed to play for the Mountaineers! https://twitter.com/voicemorgantown/status/1647636597125390338?s=46&t=USDKe35TLtcCPitgUlQ1PA https://twitter.com/voicemorgantown/status/1647633856520912901?s=46&t=USDKe35TLtcCPitgUlQ1PA https://twitter.com/jonrothstein/status/1647634299812732930?s=46&t=USDKe35TLtcCPitgUlQ1PA      

Mountaineer Basketball Player Joins Football Team

Cover Photo: West Virginia Athletics Morgantown, West Virginia - According to sources, West Virginia basketball starter Jimmy Bell, Jr. has joined the football program and will attempt to switch sports. Bell has reportedly been working out and practicing with the football team in hopes of making the roster. Bell, a 6'10 285 pound center from Saginaw, Michigan, averaged 4.8 points and 5.2 rebounds a game for the Mountaineers last season. Bell was an accomplished offensive lineman in high school and apparently wants to finish out his collegiate career playing for the football team. Bell lost significant weight before the start of last basketball season and would likely have to gain weight before playing football. It's unclear at this time how this will impact his future with the basketball team, but the Mountaineers are hosting multiple interior players in the coming weeks and there may not be room for him on the team. Stay tuned for more details on this developing story! https://youtu.be/hML10fxI8wc

Wren Baker’s Classy Move

Morgantown, West Virginia - Earlier this week, Mountaineer Nation lost one of its most passionate supporters when Chris Petry, also known as Gold and Blue Dude, unexpectedly passed away. Many prominent figures in the West Virginia community have reached out and showed support. Last night, West Virginia's new director of athletics, Wren Baker, took time out of his busy schedule to share his thoughts on the passing of Petry: "Very sorry to hear of the passing of Chris," Baker said in a social media post. "Only had one brief conversation with him but enjoyed his passion for WVU. Mountianeer Nation can help support his young family at the link below." Baker shared the link to Petry's GoFundMe, which has already surpassed its goal of $15,000. At the time of the writing of this article, $16,385 has been donated to pay for his funeral services and burial. Baker supported the family by making a donation of $250. Very classy move by Mr. Baker. https://twitter.com/wrenbaker/status/1643730446637834245?s=20