Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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May 21, 2013

Column: Misled WVU students deprived of Big 12 games

MORGANTOWN — It now appears to be a fact that West Virginia University athletic officials misled students and the general public in not playing any Big 12 Conference baseball games at Hawley Field in Morgantown this season.

All 12 “home” league games were moved to Charleston and Beckley, implying that Hawley Field did not meet Big 12 “minimum standards.”

We’re now informed that the Big 12 has no such guidelines which would have prevented WVU from scheduling all 12 home games at Hawley Field.

Had the university done that, it could have saved some of the deficit spending it costs by taking Mountaineer baseball on the road.

Perhaps Athletic Director Oliver Luck should do the right thing and reimburse part of the school’s mandatory athletic fee.

Only a total of eight games – all non-conference variety – were available to the students at Hawley Field, which was relocated to its Coliseum Complex location in 1971.

Granted, it was a nice gesture giving WVU fans in state cities an opportunity to attend WVU games. But, in doing so, Luck shortchanged students who could not see those contests.

Obviously, they had no say in the matter when the needless decision we all knew now was not really necessary.

Sure, virtually all of the “Cowboy Country” Big 12 schools have better ball parks than Hawley Field. They certainly should because of the year-round weather is better and longer-lasting than here in West Virginia.

But Big 12 official Bob Burden confirmed recently that under conference rules, WVU could have played all 12 home games at Hawley Field this year.

Was someone not telling the truth?

As a result, WVU officials now are thinking about playing some games of those 12 league contests at Hawley Field while the new baseball park is built within a projected couple of years. There are some people who still think it’s not needed (at a cost of $16.3 million).

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