Lack Of Games In Charleston Remains A Glaring Oversight

Lack Of Games In Charleston Remains A Glaring Oversight


West Virginia University recently released the non-conference portion of its 2019-20 men’s basketball schedule.

Bob Huggins’ crew will, of course, play in Morgantown, and it also has trips set to Pittsburgh, Mexico, New York City, Youngstown and Cleveland.

But nowhere on that slate will you see a game being played in Charleston.

This is the third straight season that the Mountaineers will not play a men’s basketball game in West Virginia’s Capital City. They last visited the Charleston Civic Center for a game early in the 2016-17 season when it met, and defeated, Western Carolina.

Prior to this latest lapse, WVU had played at least one men’s game in Charleston every season since the 1990-91 campaign.

That 1990-91 season was the last time the Marshall-West Virginia series was played on campus, and after that it moved to the Civic Center on an annual basis for the next 25 years. The Thundering Herd and Mountaineers stopped playing regular season games at any site after WVU’s 86-68 victory on Dec. 17, 2015 in Charleston.

Tired of the whining from various Marshall officials over the years, despite holding a 34-6 record over MU in games not played in Huntington, West Virginia let the series come to an end. The last straw came in 2014 when Marshall coach Dan D’Antoni indicated the Mountaineers were “afraid” of MU, even though his Herd squad had never defeated the Mountaineers. West Virginia basically told the Herd to jump off a bridge, and did not renew the contract. While the two did play an NCAA Tournament game in 2018, they haven’t met in the regular season since 2015 and there’s no indication they will in the future.

But Marshall wasn’t the only opponent WVU played in Charleston. The Mountaineers have played 96 games all-time in the Capital City, and only 27 have been against the Herd. So that leaves 69 other games they have played in Charleston since their first contest there in 1915.

Even in years when West Virginia and Marshall participated in the Capital Classic, the Mountaineers often played a second game each season at the Civic Center. During the 1999-2000 season the WVU Coliseum was closed for asbestos abatement, West Virginia nine “home” games in Charleston. In the years after that (from 2002-17), West Virginia played 13 non-Marshall games in Charleston.

But now there are none.

I’ve heard the arguments:

• Now that they are members of the Big 12, the Mountaineers travel enough, so even the relatively short trip to Charleston is a strain.

• The Civic Center crowds, which didn’t reach 8,900 in any of the four most recent games against a foe besides MU, aren’t what they used to be.

• Because of the expenses incurred through travel and renting the Civic Center, WVU can make a much greater profit simply by staying in Morgantown.

There is validity in all those, but still well over a third of the 1.8 million residents of West Virginia live within approximately an hour’s drive of Charleston. A vast majority of those are Mountaineer fans, and WVU should do all it can to cultivate them.

Playing one game a season in the Capital City seems worth the relatively small cost/inconvenience to continue feeding the large fan base in the Kanawha Valley region.

I’m not saying the Mountaineers should renew the series with Marshall. The acrimony there had grown too great, and it needs to die down.

But still West Virginia should play one other men’s basketball game per season in Charleston.

That’s not asking too much, and only seems fair to the many loyal fans in that area.

Home forums Lack Of Games In Charleston Remains A Glaring Oversight

This topic contains 22 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  WVFaninMI .

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  • #90762

    Anyone who thinks WVU loses home court advantage by playing in Charleston really doesn’t have a grasp of reality. 74-22 all time for a .771 clip compared to a .782 clip in Morgantown.

    WVU doesn’t lose money playing in Charleston. The only way it even becomes close is when they play some schlep in Charleston that doesn’t draw. In fact, for years WVU has gone out and secured sponsorship for games in Charleston, and not just the Marshall game, that helps cover all the travel and arena costs, including shipping bus loads of students to Charleston for the games. Throw in the fact that for the Marshall game the sponsorship was also a revenue generator for both teams since they split the tickets, and WVU did not lose money by playing in Charleston.

    And while it gets pointed out that “only” 8,384 people came to WVU’s last game in Charleston, the failure to point out that the game was against Western Carolina hampers the discussion.
    It also miserably fails to point out that right before that December 7, 2016 game in Charleston against Western Carolina, WVU faced Manhattan in Morgantown in front of 8,190. and the week after WVU hosted VMI on December 10 in front of 9,023 and then UMKC in front of 8,800 and then Radford in front of 8,311.

    Context sometimes helps

    I think even the most lazy person can review the attendance records on wvustats.com and see that December games traditionally draw 8,000-9,000 in Morgantown even in the years with high expectations.

    No I wouldn’t play a conference game in Charleston. Ever, unless the game vs the other team was also played on a “neutral” court, like playing K-State in Kansas City, or Texas in Dallas, which will never happen.

    But I’d try to secure a neutral and neutral game with a team like Duke or Alabama or North Carolina or Florida State, etc.
    And before you vomit at the idea, WVU is 2-0 vs Duke all time in Charleston and has never lost to UNC on the hardwood, anywhere.

    Play Clemson in Charleston and Columbia
    Play South Carolina in Charleston and Charleston
    Play UNC in Charleston and Charlotte
    Play Duke in Charleston and Charlotte
    Play Georgia in Atlanta and Charleston

    I also like the idea of having a Christmas style four team tournament there like teams all used to do in the old days
    Have a four team set of Kentucky, West Virginia, Marshall and Western Kentucky, with UK playing Marshall and WVU playing Western, then WVU and UK in the final.
    Marshall and Western might not want to do that because it would mean they play 3 times in a year, but it would be a better non conference game than either of them get regularly.

    Have a four game set in Charleston with this:
    WVU
    Marshall
    South Carolina
    Coastal Carolina

    WVU
    Kentucky
    Clemson
    South Carolina

    WVU
    Kentucky
    Ohio State
    Virginia Tech

    On top of that come to an agreement with UC to have a four team D-II set at the Civic Center during the same time.
    UC, West Liberty and two D-II powers.
    And make a huge event out of the whole thing.

    And pair that up with a big high school tournament as well

    Bring in high school teams from around the country to play South Charleston, Capital, Woodrow Wilson and Wheeling Park

    It can be done.

    #90766

    Deuce,

    Your final proposal is attractive, particularly when you throw in the DII and HS games as well. That makes far more sense than a one off game for the benefit of the Charleston donors. That said you do list someteams that would be a tough get without major sponsorship. I like the concept though.

    #90784

    Yeah, Deuce’s proposal could have legs.  I hadn’t thought that far out of the box, but kudos to Bill for thinking that way.  It could be named in some manner or another to honor West, Hundley, and Thorn – and hell, Fritz Williams too.

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