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OPINION: The Sports View from the Octagon
Wire Reports
July 13, 2011

myrtle beach

West Virginia's summertime sports capital?

West Virginia Sports at The Beach

It has been said by many that the largest city in West Virginia in the summer time is Myrtle Beach. After all Myrtle is the undisputed king of beaches for folks from the Mountain State, as well as the other Virginia, Carolinas, Ohio, etc.

One can argue on behalf of other beaches and I have been to a few including the Outer Banks, Daytona, Clearwater, and Southern California but none compare to the family oriented, golf capital of the world. There's nothing quite like Myrtle Beach in the summer.

My recent opportunity to visit the Grand Strand after a three-year hiatus allowed me to make some noticeable observations concerning West Virginia's attachment to the warm, white sandy beaches in South Carolina.

In a matter of eight summer days overlapping the July 4th holiday I was able to notice the following:

1) Everywhere I turned at the resort or out on the strip, I ran into someone sporting a WVU, Marshall or West Virginia high school shirt or cap.

2) Most stores selling college sportswear stocked a great deal of WVU and Marshall items. Just as many as the Carolina schools.

3) On the Fourth, while watching fireworks from the balcony of my resort, I distinctly overheard "Let's Go" and then "Mountaineers" from another balcony.

4) There were numerous WVU 10x10 pop up canopies settled on the beaches we visited.

5) I ran across several West Virginia athletes from various high schools wearing their school shirts.

6) My trip to Coastal Carolina University for a July 9 football camp and combine found West Virginia athletes there competing and excelling.
BTW, CCU really has a nice campus and athletic facilities. In terms of layout, cleanliness and modern facilities there is nothing in this state that compares. No wonder they were hosting over 250 of the best football players in the region in showing off what they've got both ways.

7) Myrtle Beach hosts numerous sports tournaments throughout the year. There was a high school baseball tournament playing out while we visited and a AAU basketball tourney starting as we left. We ran into a few Beckley, WV competitors at a MB eatery July 10th.

8) West Virginia coal miners get vacation time around the first two weeks of July and more than a few where using it to take in the Sun Fun City. Friends of Coal stickers where dominant or vehicles.

9) The West Virginia infiltration was across all socio-economic boundaries. There were signs of West Virginia in the small hotels on Ocean Boulevard as well as some of the nicest resorts on North Shore Drive.

10) When West Virginians run into each other in places like Myrtle Beach there is an air of brotherhood. It crosses high school and even WVU and Marshall lines. We're all from the Mountain State but need for a time. But we still know who we are.

Yes, Myrtle Beach is and will always be THE beach for the majority of West Virginians. For that matter Myrtle doesn't belong to any one state, not even South Carolina. It's the USA's beach. Families, golf, great restaurants, cruising the Boulevard, shopping, etc. It's all there.

So it's no wonder that West Virginians have embraced the Grand Strand in vast numbers. What's more interesting is that Myrtle Beach has realized this and embraces West Virginia. It appears they have accepted the fact that they are West Virginia's summertime city.

The Big Ten's pay-for-play piffle
-Doug Smock, WV Gazette, May 30, 2011

Doug Smock makes some valid points that any effort by the monster D1 schools to increase the amount of compensation given to athletes would instigate and "arms-race" that only a few giant universities could compete.

We believe he is correct.
Both WVU and Marshall would have a difficult time keeping up.
We ultimately believe that such a rule change would force most universities to look at dropping even more "non-revenue" sports such as track, golf and soccer. There's no way that the athletic departments can afford to make cuts in the sports that provide the revenue.
Essentially they have to keep up in order to remain competitive and thus keep the revenue flowing.

Casino Video?

--WVU's Coach in Waiting, Dana Holgorsen getting 86'd from a Cross Lanes Casino just keeps growing legs regardless of Oliver Luck's attempts at trying to chop them off.
Chuck Landon reported in the Herald Dispatch over Memorial Day weekend that Holgorsen has been associated with at least SIX drunken or rowdy incidents in West Virginia alone in the past couple of years.
We reported earlier that it was interesting that television media sources hadn't made stronger attempts to obtain the video of the Cross Lanes incident through the Freedom of Information Act.
Apparently that is just the case. It was reported by the Daily Mail that ESPN has "asked" for the video but has been denied by the Casino and state gaming commission sighting their "opinion" that it is a private matter and not "public".
Since we're discussing casinos, it is our bet that ESPN will find it interesting that the video is being protected and bring in heavier firepower (lawyers) to obtain it.
And speaking of gambling...Isn't Oliver Luck the one riding out the biggest gamble of all?
Can Holgorsen suddenly change his lifestyle to fit the position of role-model?
Was there a reason not only Pitt passed on the coach but that Oklahoma State with all it's huge financial resources didn't even try to retain or outbid WVU for the offensive coach? Reports are that OSU could have easily outbid WVU for Holgorsen if it had wanted. But the Cowboys just let him ride away like an unwelcome gunslinger leaving 1875 Stillwater.

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