First of all, let me state that I am the father of a college athlete and am truly blessed with a son who works hard at both academics and sports. When it came to college athletics and the NCAA, I was happy to drift along and attend as many games as possible. Then along came conference realignment which in my opinion is the most unreasonable action imaginable, both monetarily and ethically. If this decision to realign actually made sense, I probably would not be writing this, but someone needs to say something about the elephant in the room.
The WVIAC Conference was one of the oldest in the country and probably the most taken for granted. The schools in the WVIAC were on average no more than two to three hours from each other at most. From what I can gather, the football schools in the conference and non-football schools had a disagreement and instead of behaving as reasonable adults, some of the school presidents chose to "take their ball and go home" destroying the conference, regardless of cost or pain to taxpayers, students, athletes, parents and fans. It makes no sense for this conference to break up, throw out the non-football schools, add in new out of state football schools and now force both sets of teams to travel additional hours to play NCAA competition. The state schools will now have higher travel budgets (which will no doubt be passed onto the taxpayers), less classroom time for the athletes and much less fan support of the teams as they are no longer competing within reasonable driving distances. In the case of private schools, higher tuition will be the answer to higher travel budgets, and they will also suffer the same downfalls of state schools.
While this is not the Big 12, it is as important to the development of young students and the communities that support them as the money WVU has chosen to chase at the expense of the student athletes. Maybe I am missing the ESPN money that will offset the added expense to the state and the parents of students in the WVIAC, if I am, please let me know. If not, could some state officials who are interested in not adding additional burdens to our taxpayers and college administrators who are interested in well-educated student athletes please stand up and save this conference. I will gladly volunteer to be put in a room with reasonable athletic directors and I assure you we can save it for the good of the conference, the communities, the state and most of all, for the students.
College athletics is a job, no about about it. It's hard work, tough and time-consuming and puts character in those who participate, as keeping one's grades at high levels along with athletics is truly superhuman at the very least. We must remember that this is what college athletics should be about and do what is right for the kids. And yes, they are still kids we tend to lose sight of this when we watch them dunk a basketball, hit a home run or run for a touchdown. The adults helping guide this educational process should be able to place misguided egos aside and make informed decisions that benefit the kids they are supposed to be representing. Feel free to add in the out of state schools to the conference, but leave the WVIAC in tact for the good of the student athletes and everyone that supports them.
Buckhannon, W. Va.