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Cook-ing, Buckeyes and a Beef

A THREE-PART version of ye olde notebook:

  • Chestnuts aren't the only things heating up this week.
  • The attention given to Liberty Raleigh basketball big man Levi Cook is heating up as well.

    WVU fans might know that in September the Mountaineers received a commitment from Morgantown High junior Nathan Adrian, a 6-foot-9, 195-pound standout.

    But within the state, all attention after that is flooding to Cook.

    He's 6-10, 305 pounds. And he's a freshman.

    You read correctly.

    If you didn't check him out at the Civic Center, when he scored 19 points in a Raiders win over St. Albans, you can this Thursday and Friday in the WesBanco Holiday Tournament in Sissonville.

    Mountaineer coach Bob Huggins, among others, is well aware of Cook.

    "I've got a long way to go," Cook said Monday of the recruiting road ahead. "So far, though, I've got interest from West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pitt, Maryland, Marshall, Central Florida and Ohio State."

    Cook said he's averaging 21 points a game.

  • For the past week, I've wondered how the heck coach-in-waiting Urban Meyer can recruit for Ohio State, while interim head coach Luke Fickell prepares the Buckeyes for the upcoming Gator Bowl.
  • The answer might surprise - and perhaps anger - you if you're not an OSU fan.

    Within the swirl of the ugly infractions case, the NCAA saw fit to grant a waiver to Meyer, set to take over after the bowl, to recruit. No lie.

    If you follow recruiting even casually, you know the waiver has been most beneficial to Ohio State. Headlines like "Meyer making inroads" and "Buckeyes add another ESPNU 150 recruit" have been dotting the internet.

    The above referenced recruit was defensive end Noah Spence, ranked by the site as the No. 4 recruit in the nation. Kid said he wasn't even thinking about OSU until three weeks ago - when Meyer was hired.

    So I sent an inquiry to the NCAA and received the following response from Stacey Osburn, associate director of public and media relations:

    "The NCAA has certainly received similar waiver requests prior to the bowl season from universities that have recently experienced coaching staff changes. When granted, these waivers are temporary, typically lasting through the bowl game, and only provide relief from [the] maximum number of coaches allowed to be employed by the school. To prevent competitive advantage, the university still cannot exceed the number of coaches allowed to recruit at any one time and the amount of coaches allowed on the sidelines remains the same."

    Teams with waivers are still limited to 10 coaches on the field and 10 engaged in recruiting, with no more than seven able to recruit off campus.

    Apparently, Illinois and UCLA have also been granted such waivers. But granting Meyer a chance to recruit while others coach is quite simply an unfair advantage. End of story.

    What's amazing is Ohio State has admitted to committing NCAA violations. The program is on probation. Yet the NCAA is allowing Meyer the waiver to use his high-profile image to lure new recruits. Huh?

    And here's the kicker. With Penn State going through its horrifying scandal, Meyer swooped in and grabbed a commitment from Tommy Schutt, a former Nittany Lion commitment.

    What you smell isn't the smoke curling from a fireplace.

  • And finally ...
  • We received a note concerning Marshall's bowl, which will be played today.

    The public relations folks there wanted us to note the "official name is the 2011 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg, not simply the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl." (We were also instructed to "note all apostrophes and spaces as well.")

    Also, Marshall's opponent wishes to be referred to as FIU, not Florida International.

    That noted, enjoy the Herd's Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl game against Florida International. (I'm taking the Golden Panthers by six.)

    Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvingle@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.


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