Marshall beat writer Chuck Landon wrote in Saturday’s Huntington Herald-Dispatch that West Virginia has reported to the NCAA that its football program, like former coach Rich Rodriguez’s Michigan squad, was guilty of breaking a rule limiting the number of coaches on the field during practices.
Landon cited anonymous sources and claimed the self-report would list Pat Kirkland, the program’s Director of High School Relations, and Dale Wolfley, its Director of Player Development, as those who had been giving instructions during practices that should not have.
Luck, the former WVU quarterback who will officially take over as athletic director July 1, said he was “aware of the issue” before accepting his new job and was privy to information surrounding that “issue” while serving as a member of the University’s Board of Governors (a post which he resigned last week, just before accepting the position of director of athletics).
“I don’t have any of the details,” he said shortly after being formally introduced at a press conference.
“I will say, certainly, that it’s always been my experience that WVU has taken compliance extraordinarily seriously. I’m sure that as I learn the details of this, that we’ll continue to have a very vigilant compliance program. But yes, I am aware that there is an issue there.”
That was further than University President James P. Clements or retiring director of athletics Ed Pastilong would go in their comments.
Clements repeatedly skirted questions from multiple media members on the subject, refusing to confirm or deny that the school has reported any violations to the NCAA.
He instead insisted that reporters talk to someone within the athletic department, in his words, “because they can give you a better answer than I can.”
“I get briefed on these things, but they live it every day,” he said.
Indeed, Pastilong has “lived it” in the role of athletic director for better than two decades. But he, too, was guarded in his response to questions about the potential fallout from the work of an NCAA investigative team that came to Morgantown earlier in the year to continue work that began with a look at Rodriguez’s program at Michigan.
“The NCAA has visited our campus,” Pastilong said. “We’re permitted to say that, but we’re not permitted to make statements beyond that. We’ll just wait and see, but that’s all. We’ll say they’ve talked to us.”
When pressed further to confirm or deny Landon’s report, Pastilong again refused to do so.
“I’m just going to leave it that way,” he said. “They have been here. And we talked to them. And that’s it.”
When asked if Luck knew about potential NCAA violations during the search process for a new athletic director, again, Clements was vague.
“I think Oliver’s view coming in was, he follows everything that’s going on,” he said. “He knows what’s going on with conference realignment, he knows what’s going on with anything that he’s read in the paper. He wants to make this great program even better. So we’ve talked about all kinds of things.”
When asked if he thinks about NCAA issues often, Clements again gave an indirect answer.
“You know, there are a lot of things that I spend a lot of time thinking about, from the success of our student-athletes in the classroom to their health and well-being on the fields, to conference realignment,” said Clements, who will complete his first year as WVU’s President on July 1.
“So there are a lot of things that run through my head in the course of a day. When I arrived here a year ago, my view was that this was a great institution with well-run programs. And I’m convinced we do things the right way.”
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