AT THE END of most interviews, I usually open the door to more information with probing questions like this:
"So, um, anything else shakin'?"
More times than not, that ends any semblance of intellectual give and take. The stimulating question is usually met with, "no, not really." And that's the end of the interview.
Last week, however, while I had WVU deputy athletic director Mike Parsons on the line, I tacked on a few words. They were: "Anything on scheduling?"
"Well," he said, "we're waiting to get more definitive direction on TCU."
As you may know, the Horned Frogs are joining West Virginia's conference, the Big East, beginning the 2012-13 school year. The league may also add another school in the near future.
Anyway, his response led me to ask about the football series with in-state rival Marshall. There's been an extended impasse in regard to talks. The current seven-year deal expires after 2012. The teams will play season-openers in Morgantown on Sept. 3 of 2011 and Sept. 1 of 2012.
After that, might this series be dead?
"[TCU] will make it very difficult to bring on another non-conference team," Parsons said.
Reads like taps for the matchup, eh? Definitely sounded that way.
"Well, you never say never," Parsons said. "But [the Big East's addition of TCU] certainly makes it more difficult. We're trying to maintain a national scheduling philosophy."
Doesn't take a magnifying glass to read between those lines.
I understand. Sen. Joe Manchin "guaranteed" the series would continue back in September when he was the Mountain State's governor. While speaking at the Friends of Coal luncheon in Huntington prior to the most recent game, he said, "I will guarantee we'll have more to this series."