Morgantown, West Virginia – Preface: Clearly, West Virginia University is going to hold a pseudo competition for every position this Spring, but ultimately decisions have already been made for the upcoming football season.
We’re in the age of NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) and student-athletes have far more control over their futures than in previous years and college athletics is very much a big business now. With that, promises have to be made in order to retain players. That’s just the nature of the beast. Often, if a player doesn’t have assurance that he will be the starter or get significant playing time, he will simply go where a coach will give that to him.
I’ve had the information on who will be the starting quarterback for the Mountaineers for several weeks now. I’ve gone back and forth on whether to release it to the general public and have decided that the pros far outweigh the cons. One of the most beautiful things about not being a member of the credentialed press in West Virginia is that I can write and say what I want. I am not controlled by the university like the media in the state is and that is what makes The Voice of Morgantown unlike any other media outlet in the state of West Virginia.
How I became aware of who will be the starter this season
Reaching out to student-athletes for sponsorship opportunities is part of today’s world if you are in the media. At least it is for me. I not only want to help support players but I also want to continue to grow my business. I’ve had many NIL arrangements with West Virginia student-athletes and have had tremendous experiences with most of them.
One student-athlete that I reached out to following the 2022 football season is presumed 2023 starting quarterback Nicco Marchiol. Marchiol, an extraordinary redshirt freshman, waited patiently last season as a freshman behind JT Daniels and Garrett Greene. However, Marchiol’s time is clearly now and I openly wanted to do business with Marchiol.
On Marchiol’s social media, he has an email address to contact for NIL opportunities. I sent an email and waited patiently. Months later, Marchiol’s NIL business manager wrote back, wanting to know more about what The Voice of Morgantown had in mind in terms of a partnership with Nicco.
After explaining the potential partnership and having many talks with the business manager, we agreed on what we believed would be fair for both parties. I won’t get into the specifics of the deal nor will I say what we offered and his manager agreed to, but it was a lucrative deal.
A few days later, the business manager reached out, explaining that Nicco had “decided to decline the offer but thanked me for my time and the opportunity we presented to him.” Surprised by the turn of events, I asked for an explanation. The business manager simply said, “He let me know at this time that he wants to lock into the season and not focus on anything else but football.”
That’s noble and certainly possible, but ultimately I believe that the coaching staff, the university or perhaps other sponsors asked Marchiol to not do business with us because we have been critical of the football team and Neal Brown in particular.
So who is the starting quarterback for the Mountaineers in 2023?
During negotiations with Marchiol’s business manager, the following was said: “With Nicco being the starter, we think $____ for ___________ would be fair. Let me know your thoughts.”
I replied, “I agree if he’s the starter. Is he definitely the starter?”
The manager responded by saying, “From what we have heard from Nicco, he is the starter.”
Nicco Marchiol will be the starting quarterback for the West Virginia Mountaineers in 2023. Remember, college football is a business. Promises must be made and guarantees are a critical part of retaining a team’s best players. It’s not a particularly easy thing for anyone involved – particularly sports purists – to swallow, but it’s the world we live in today.
I’m personally extremely excited to see Nicco Marchiol unleashed. As proven in high school, he’s a tremendous winner and I believe he gives the Mountaineers the very best chance of winning games in the upcoming season. With that said, it is a bit disappointing for Garrett Greene, who has been such an outstanding teammate during his career and played courageously in relief of JT Daniels late last season.
In closing, I’m certain there will be denials and that Coach Brown will insist that there will be a quarterback competition this Spring and that the best player will emerge as the team’s starter. There is absolutely no benefit to his program for him to name a starting quarterback in early March, but the reality is that the Nicco Marchiol will be the starter when the Mountaineers take the field in Happy Valley against Penn State on September 2nd.