Cover Photo by Ben Queen/USA Today
Morgantown, West Virginia – Let me preface this article by saying that the player I spoke to asked to remain anonymous for a number of reasons, but primarily because of the fan reaction to players speaking out about Neal Brown and the West Virginia football program.
“You are the only person that writes anything remotely accurate about the football program since Neal Brown got here. They just hate the truth. It’s a terrible mentality that this fan base has here and that’s why former players don’t speak out.”
I asked, “Can you elaborate?”
The former player responded, “Fans will lash out and call you ‘soft’ or ‘bitter because you didn’t play’ or ‘not a Mountaineer’, etc. That’s exactly why players don’t just come out and tell the truth about Neal Brown and the football program.”
I’ve spoken to several players following their departure from the West Virginia football program, but this particular player was extremely well-spoken and laid it out in a way that made it very clear and understandable. If you, the reader, chose to believe that “this is happening everywhere”, that he’s “soft or bitter or not a true Mountaineer”, that’s fine, but this player has absolutely no reason to be anything but completely honest about his experience at West Virginia University.
Here are some highlights of the phone conversation that I had with the former player at West Virginia:
“Neal Brown says one thing to the media and the exact opposite to the players. He’s just really phony.”
“Neal Brown plays favorites and it’s really obvious to everyone on the team.”
“It’s common knowledge within the program that the best players aren’t the ones that are on the field. Brown plays who he likes.”
“The coaching staff makes a bunch of promises, gets players’ hopes up, and then almost never follows through. That’s how he gets these guys on the team and also why so many leave.”
“Very few of the players like Neal Brown. He has a very small group of players that are loyal to him, but most don’t like him. That’s why players don’t thank him when they transfer.”
Take it for what it’s worth. I believed every word that came out of this young man’s mouth, but it’s also certainly possible that he’s bitter about his experience with the team.
With that said, West Virginia has lost a lot of talent again this offseason. The Mountaineers have lost 15 scholarship players from last year’s team and have not gained anyone other than kicker Luke Savino so far. There is something very wrong within the West Virginia football program, whether people want to admit it or not.