WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY
The federal government isn't the only big spender.
Closer to home, the Mountaineers athletics department is doing its best to keep up with the D.C. gang.
According to available records, WVU has shelled out nearly $4 million to departing coaches.
That includes the well-publicized $1.65-million to former head football coach BILL STEWART.
But lesser attention has been paid to the changing of the guard in the football office and other sport coaches.
(1) Four former WVU assistant coaches were paid nearly $883,000 in buyout contracts while the salaries of their replacements totaled at least $900,000.
(2) And, believe it or not, a former WVU volleyball coach, VERONICA HAMMERSMITH, was paid $57,000 as a parting gift from the school.
And, about everyone who follows Mountaineers football knows that the new head football coach, DANA HOLGORSEN, has signed the richest coaching contract in state history, one that could pay him more than $14 million the next six years.
No wonder an athletic department emergency fund of several million dollars has been wiped out in recent months.
So, where is the needed revenue coming from to replace all this lavish spending?
One source, obviously, is the recently approved sale of beer, at an estimated $7-8 a container, inside Puskar Stadium at home football games.
Another has to be the continued hikes of costs to the loyal Mountaineers faithful who pay the freight year-in and year-out to support the program.
(1) When the current Mountaineer Field was constructed in 1980, home game tickets cost between $15-20 with no surcharges to the Mountaineers athletics department added to the mix.
Fast forward to 2011.
The cost of a season ticket to the seven home games this season is about $740. That includes $365 for a season ticket book plus a minimum of $375 per seat surcharge donation to the athletic department.
And, this doesn't include the rising costs of parking, concessions, etc. We're sure WVU basketball buffs won't forget the new $20 parking fees at the Coliseum.
We are well aware of inflation during the last three decades but where does all of this end, if at all?
With such lavish spending by the WVU powers-that-be, the costs will be passed onto the loyal patrons who will be expected to pick up the inflated tab.
On your mark, get set: SPEND.
BEAST OF THE EAST
The annual July 4th weekend amateur baseball tournament is one of the Ohio Valley's finest events.
Now in its 23rd year, the diamond showcase has brought thousands of athletes, team followers and fans to the area.
It's a first-class production which seems to get better with age.
A tip of the hat to co-directors BO McCONNAUGHY and B. A. CRAWFORD.
Enjoy the holiday weekend.