The drama that has engulfed the West Virginia football program for the last several weeks continues today while everyone awaits a decision on what will happen with coaches Bill Stewart and Dana Holgorsen.
There have been conflicting reports about the situation, but it appears Stewart's job is in jeopardy. Rumor, speculation and anonymous sources have mostly fanned the flames on this story, garnering national headlines for all the wrong reasons. It seemed the arrangement of having Holgorsen on Stewart's staff for one season as the coach-in-waiting was a doomed idea from the start. Even athletic director Oliver Luck admitted on the radio earlier this week he isn't so sure he would make the same decision again.
So what do we know at this point?
The story began last month after Holgorsen was escorted out of a casino for what the school called inappropriate behavior. Holgorsen said he learned a valuable lesson from what happened, and now understands the expectations of him as a representative of West Virginia.
Rumors of other incidents involving Holgorsen surfaced in one newspaper report, leading Luck to begin an investigation into their accuracy and who started spreading them. Luck gave one radio interview, but then issued a statement saying he was handling matters privately.
Most everything else has been speculation and innuendo. Stewart remains employed this morning, and there is no way to definitively say what is going to happen. Luck has refused further comment, and he presumably would be the one to make a decision on the future of the program.
But one question that has come up recently is whether the national publicity is good or bad for the program. That came up during the chat Thursday. Bill in West Virginia asked:
As a WVU fan, with this being the slowest time of the year, I would prefer we weren't getting the coverage that we currently are. However, Lane Kiffin (while at Tenn.) said that controversy was keeping their program on the headlines. Do you see any good coming out of the WVU drama that is happening? Is bad publicity better than no publicity?
I am of the belief that bad publicity is never a good thing, even if it gets people talking. Was the bad pub good for Jay Cutler? Has the bad pub been good for Ohio State? While Kiffin was at Tennessee, he and his school became a national punchline. Kiffin may have moved on, but Tennessee now faces uncertainty because of NCAA violations committed under its former coach.
If you do a quick Web search on what has been written about West Virginia, tell me what good is coming of the situation. West Virginia has turned into a soap opera. Even defensive end Julian Miller wondered on Twitter earlier this week when his team would be spotlighted for doing something good.
Having said that, I highly doubt the headlines will leave a permanent scar on the program. One can only hope a resolution comes sooner rather than later so everyone can move forward and get back to the business of football.