WVU hoops, football and some WVC ciphering
MORGANTOWN - Cleaning out a crowded notebook and a cluttered mind with a warning - the following contains math, so while there will be no quiz, read at your own peril:
Our first equation of the day is 13 plus 1, which equals 14, which is one over the NCAA scholarship limit for men's basketball. Last week it looked like West Virginia might be in danger of exceeding that. Now it doesn't.
That's because to almost no one's surprise, Elijah Macon won't be enrolling this fall. Instead he will spend a year in prep school at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire and try to become eligible.
The news comes as little surprise because it was a week ago that Bob Huggins signed a transfer from Boston College, Matt Humphrey. He would have been the 14th scholarship player for next season, so it was obvious something had to give. And since Macon is the only one of the 14 (besides Humphrey) who isn't already enrolled, well ...
Macon's AAU coach, Vic Dandridge, told Scout.com that Macon, a 6-foot-9 forward who was the highest-rated of WVU's three freshman recruits, still plans to attend West Virginia a year from now. But he can also be re-recruited by anyone.
With the signing of Florida cornerback Rick Rumph over the weekend, West Virginia's recruiting class is finally full. Well, overflowing, actually.
Rumph is the 30th player signed to Dana Holgorsen's first full recruiting class. And he's apparently not just some after-the-fact, hey-we've-still-got-a-scholly-open space eater. Rumph was good enough to find himself mentioned on Florida's Class 6A all-state team after helping Mainland High to the state semifinals.
Yes, he might be a bit of a project, but that's because he's only played two seasons of high school football, having finally hung up his basketball sneakers after realizing there weren't many options for 5-11 point guards.
"I didn't know anything about playing corner and you can see the changes from last year to this year,'' Rumph said in an interview with a Daytona Beach newspaper last fall. "This year I know more because I started watching football.''
He learned enough and had enough talent that he had some Division I interest, but it never really took off because he wasn't qualified academically. So he signed with Division II Catawba, but only as a fallback. When Rumph finally got the grades he needed last month to match the test score he'd already logged, Catawba released him to follow his Division I dreams.
Anyway, back to those numbers. The NCAA limit for a recruiting class is 25 and WVU has 30. But the five who enrolled in January count against last year's numbers, so now the Mountaineers are at the full 25. And who knows? If someone doesn't qualify there could be another surprise.
By all indications, the issues that have forced the nine West Virginia Conference football-playing schools to consider breaking away from the league have little to do with money.
Know this, though: Before there is a split, money will be a major topic of conversation. As in, is it worth it?
That's something each school will have to decide for itself. It's amazing, really, how much the athletic budgets of these schools vary.
The Department of Education compiles what it calls the Equity in Athletics Analysis, which charts revenue and expenditures by every college in the country. The numbers for the latest school year won't be available until after June 30, but the 2010-11 statistics paint a picture of wide disparity in the WVC.
Seton Hill, one of the two Pennsylvania schools in the conference, had by far the top budget that year, essentially breaking even with roughly $6.26 million in revenues and expenses. West Virginia Wesleyan was second, bringing in about $5.22 million and spending $4.63 million, followed by the University of Charleston with revenues of $4.8 million and expenses of $4.75 million.
If you haven't noticed, those are the three private institutions among the nine WVC schools that play football.
Among the public colleges, Shepherd, West Liberty, Concord and Fairmont all had revenues and expenses in the $3-3.5 million range. But Glenville had barely $2 million in revenue and West Virginia State lagged way behind everyone with just $1.58 million in revenue and expenses. None of the nine lost money on athletics, according to the EADA, but that doesn't mean they didn't have to shell out money that the EADA counts as revenue.
West Virginia State's budget was so small that even among the non-football schools it ranked next-to-last in the WVC, ahead of only Bluefield, which spent just a shade over $1 million. The Yellow Jackets reported football expenses and revenue of less than $500,000, compared to UC's $1.53 million.
What all of that means I'm not quite sure except that money isn't the driving force behind the proposed split. Seven of the eight non-football schools are spending more money on athletics than West Virginia State is even with a football program. And Glenville is also right about the same. There is a far more pronounced difference in spending between the private and public schools.
All of which is sure to be a major topic of conversation as those schools decide when - and if - to move forward.
And finally, no more math.
West Virginia got a football commitment Monday night from what is becoming an unusual source - West Virginia. Spring Valley fullback Elijah Wellman was offered a scholarship and accepted.
Assuming Wellman does so, he will be the first from a state high school to sign a letter of intent on signing day since Cody Clay in 2011. That will also make him the first West Virginian signed by Holgorsen and his staff.
Before you jump on the Holgorsen-doesn't-want-state-kids bandwagon, though, consider that in his four signing classes West Virginian Bill Stewart signed only five state players who have played or are on the roster - Clay, Wes Tonkery in 2010, Cole Bowers and Taige Redman in 2009 and Josh Jenkins in 2008. And another West Virginian, Rich Rodriguez, signed seven in his first recruiting class in 2001, but then just nine in the next six years, three of whom never played a snap.
So that's 11 state players who actually signed and played in the last 10 years.
Sorry, I lied. There is math: By my calculations, Holgorsen isn't too far off the average.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1