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Dollar cost of WVU's football plummet

CHARLESTON -- IT'S A BIT early to determine the cost of West Virginia's two-game collapse.

The Mountaineers could finish the season 5-7. They could finish 10-2. Geno Smith could continue to be flustered. Then again, he could flourish.

Odds are, however, WVU won't finish 10-2. The Mountaineers are certainly out of the BCS national championship picture. Unless they finish with two losses, they'll be out of the BCS picture.

Which means we can put a dollar value on the situation.

According to WVU deputy athletic director Mike Parsons, a BCS berth for the Mountaineers this season would mean $1.61 million for the school. Around $20 million goes to the Big 12, but $1.61 million would be the school's cut. That, as well as a $300-per-mile expense check to cover the cost of travel.

There's also a difference between the Big 12 and WVU's former conference, the Big East. The former covers the cost of bowl ticket requirements, while the latter did not. If a bowl requires, say, WVU to purchase 17,000 tickets, the school doesn't have to sell them all. The league assumes any financial hit, but also takes in any profit - unless, that is, the school sells more than 50 percent of the tickets. It then gets a percentage of the profit.

But back to the probable financial loss. If WVU doesn't land in a BCS bowl, it will more than likely land in one of the Big 12's "tier three" bowls. The Big 12 has these ties with such bowls: the AT&T Cotton (versus an SEC team), the Valero Alamo (Pac-12), Buffalo Wild Wings (Big Ten), Bridgepoint Holiday (Pac-12), Meineke Car Care of Texas (Big Ten) and New Era Pinstripe (Big East).

Yes, it would be cruel and unusual punishment if WVU had to go to the Pinstripe Bowl. But whatever the case, Parsons said WVU will earn a flat $1 million, plus the mileage, in all but the Meineke bowl, which, he said, pays $680,000.

So at the very least, the dive probably cost the school $610,000. It could reach $930,000.

There's also the matter of Smith's NFL draft status. His stock has dropped, but not significantly. He can certainly rise again. Still, the senior could suffer financially as well.

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  • WVU athletic director Oliver Luck told me this past week he's been "spending about 90 percent" of his time lately on nailing down a third-tier media rights deal for the school.

    "We have a lot going on with that," Luck said. "We're trying to properly go through the process. Our procurement people, though, have said not to comment on it."

    When will there be a deal and an announcement?

    "At some point in the future," Luck said.

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  • Luck has been dealing with other issues. Among them has been that of basketball parking on Monongahela Boulevard.

    "Ever since the Coliseum has been built, people have been parking there," Luck said. "But we got a notice from the city [of Morgantown] that they want to ban that because of safety issues.

    "We're trying to figure out if they mean all day every day or at certain times."

    If there's not an exception made for WVU hoops games, expect an absolute mess.

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  • And finally . . .

    WVU fans probably didn't rejoice over the announcement of Georgia State as a 2013 football opponent, but Mountaineer athletic officials certainly consider it an accomplishment.

    The reason: A sixth home game against a FBS opponent was secured, at a bargain price.

    The Panthers will be playing at Alabama next season for $700,000 and at Oregon in 2015 for $900,000. WVU landed Georgia State for $550,000.

    In case Mountaineer fans haven't noticed, they must get used to the idea of just six home games - and the Georgia State deal simply got WVU to that number. At this point, the lone future WVU schedule with seven home games is 2015.

    Just don't expect much of a fight from the Panthers. They will be an FBS team next season, but they are transitioning to the status from the current FCS label.

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

     


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