Let’s understand one thing before we start: Everyone here, writers and readers included, understands the game we’re about to play. We now that while the athletic department is West Virginia University’s athletic department, they exist in separate quarters. They live and thrive independent of one another.
The athletic department pays its bills with money it generates.
With the exception of an annual $100,000 appropriation to fund the rifle program that comes from the state — and the one that should be much harder to justify as a full-fledged member of the Big 12 — WVU’s athletic department operates on its own.
We’re all clear on that, right? Because we have to be if we’re going to proceed.
You see, there’s a rather sizable money problem at the University right now, the byproduct of a $13 million cut in state funding and some aggressive planning and execution. There’s a multi-million dollar hole that has to be filled and already WVU has announced some things, going the ordinary route of raising tuition and stopping pay raises.
It’s not fixed, though, and I know a lot of employees who have been told already they won’t get a raise for years — and not because they did something haphazard. I’d have to imagine if they don’t do their job, they still get fired.
Yet there is a part of the population who hears about that particular piece of business and says, “Tell me again, how much more does Coach get next year?”
Plainly put, WVU’s coaches are in line for some hefty raises next year. And every one of them, from head coaches to assistants, is going to get every dime.
“The increases, if any, are built in to those contracts,” said Mike Parsons, deputy director of athletics. “We will honor those increases.”
To repeat, we know the school and the athletic department breath different air and that athletics doesn’t necessarily have to help the university, and that the profile athletics provides nationally is a great benefit to the university.
But there’s a separate conversation no one wants to have because no one is open to having it. The fact is, there’s a lot of money being promised to a few people on one part and there’s a lot of money not going to a lot more people in the other part.
You see where I’m going, but how does one ever get there? Or should they try at all?