Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

MICKEY FURFARI

April 15, 2014

A $3 million coach’s salary is the equivalent to 30 professor’s pay annually

MORGANTOWN — Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:

n A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point main dining room with a message.

“Do you realize that the average annual salary of a college professor at West Virginia University is $100,000? Well, doesn’t that mean any football or basketball coach being paid a base salary of $3 million or so is getting the equivalent of 30 professors’ pay?” the lady said.

To be honest about this matter, I told the kind woman, I never gave it much thought. But I certainly thanked her for this information.

What’s more, friend Bob Sloneger, who’s a retired mathematics professor, confirmed that the comparison was pretty much accurate.

Is that really fair in the thinking of balance what institutions of higher learning was originally created?

n In that connection, I’ve always thought that the presidents of the perennial-power universities in these two chief financial revenue-generating sports were at fault. They should have stuck together against any potentially outrageous coaching salaries.

Instead, they allowed their schools to follow in the footsteps of the professional football and basketball clubs. That has to be the reason the cost of game tickets has gotten out of hand at WVU and other colleges.

I know a guy who paid $280 for a pair of tickets to the West Virginia-Alabama 2014 season football opener Aug. 30 at Atlanta.

n Matt Wells, WVU assistant athletic director for marketing and sales, says he doesn’t know exactly how many of the estimated 10,000 fans paid $10 at last Saturday’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage at Mountaineer Field/Milan Puskar Stadium.

He explained that students were admitted upon presentation of their ID cards. In addition, former players had a reunion sponsored by the Varsity Clubs.

There likely were other exceptions, many of course, that always include members of the media.

However, the WVU Children’s Hospital will receive all of the net proceeds from the spring scrimmage after expenses. Tickets cost $10, or double the $5 donations that were asked as early as the 1980s.

That’s when retired National and WVU Hall of Famer Don Nehlen became the father of this most worthy charity and concerns.

If memory serves, Nehlen even asked that the hospital be given all income and the athletic department absorb all expenses.

n You may recall that a year ago West Virginia did not play any Big 12 Conference baseball games at Hawley Field. Athletic Director Oliver Luck claimed it was not up to league standards. A Big 12 official, however, told me later that the conference had no such ruling.

So, at the urging of second-year head coach Randy Mazey, the Mountaineers are playing Big 12 home games at Hawley Field.

Apparently, Oklahoma State found Morgantown’s Hawley diamond very much to its liking. The Cowboys swept the inaugural three-game series with great weather and enlarged seating and restroom facilities. These three games drew a combined attendance of just 4,192 fans.

College baseball never has attracted a large crowd in Morgantown. I wonder whether it ever will, even when the new ballpark — approved by the West Virginia Legislature — ever will.

Hawley Field is scheduled to close after this year.

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MICKEY FURFARI