News, Notes & Rumors – May 28
By the time the 2018 college football season begins, a person so inclined may actually be able to place a legal wager on a sporting event within the state of West Virginia.
As you probably already know, the U.S. Supreme Court recently overturned a 1992 federal law that limited legal sports gambling to just the state of Nevada. By a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that each state can decide on its own whether to legalize sports betting.
New Jersey brought the original suit to the Supreme Court, and that state will probably start allowing legal sports betting within its existing casinos and racetracks before the end of May. Delaware also is apparently almost ready to start allowing bets as well.
West Virginia is one of six states just behind those two in terms of preparedness. Like Connecticut, Iowa, Mississippi, New York and Pennsylvania, West Virginia already passed a state law that will allow sports betting in anticipation of the Supreme Court ruling. Now that the Supreme Court has opened the door, West Virginia seems fairly ready to enter the sports gambling world. There are still some details to be worked out, but those in the business anticipate that the Mountain State’s five casinos will be ready by the end of August to start accepting sports wagers, either in person at the facility or via an online app that requires GPS verification that the person placing the bet is physically within the state of West Virginia.
And if a person wants to wager on the Mountaineers, they’ll find that the first betting lines have been posted for the opening weekend of the college football season. WVU’s is currently a seven-point favorite for its Sept. 1 clash with Tennessee in Charlotte.
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Even the most dedicated of Mountaineer football fans may not remember Milo Austin.
A native of Bowie, Md., Austin transferred to WVU from Division III Salisbury (Md.) University in 2003. The 6-foot receiver caught just one pass in his West Virginia career, a 16-yarder in the 2005 Gator Bowl against Maryland.
After his playing days were over, Austin got into the coaching profession. He had stops on the staffs at Lanphier (Ill.) High School, Midwestern State (Texas), Cincinnati, Hampton and Montana State. He spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons as the running back coach at Glenville State (W.Va.), before being hired as the receiver coach at Morehead State, which is an FCS program playing in the Pioneer Football League. Austin was promoted to associate head coach last year, and this summer he will take part Bill Walsh Minority Internship with the Los Angeles Chargers. He’ll assist the Chargers during offseason workouts and preseason camp before returning to Morehead State when the Eagles begin their own preseason practices in August.
The Walsh Internship is designed to help give minority coaches an opportunity to learn from NFL staffs with the idea that some would eventually land full-time positions at the professional football level.
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Former Mountaineer star gymnast, Umme Salim-Beasley, has a new job. The 1998 EAGL gymnast of the year recently was hired as the head women’s gymnastics coach at Rutgers.
A native of Gaithersburg, Md., Salim-Beasley had spent the past three seasons as the head coach at Temple, leading the Owls’ program to its top 10 meet scores of all times.
Prior to taking over at Temple, Salim-Beasley had spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Rutgers. She now returns to Piscataway to try to build a Scarlet Knight squad that has never finished above ninth in the Big Ten in its four seasons in that league.
The mother of three daughters, Salim-Beasley is married to former WVU All-American cornerback Aaron Beasley, who spent nine years in the NFL after his graduation from West Virginia in 1995.
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The recent firing of Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger didn’t garner a whole lot of attention on the eastern edge of the Big 12 Conference.
It probably should have gotten more notice, though, because new Jayhawk leadership very well could bring changes to a couple beleaguered KU athletic programs.
Zenger had been the A.D. at Kansas for the past eight years. He hired current Kansas football coach David Beaty, as well as Charlie Weis before that. Between those two Zenger hires, KU football has managed a record of just 10-62 over the past six seasons.
Zenger’s replacement is going to have to decide what do with Beaty, who admittedly inherited the worst Power 5 football program in the country when he took over in 2015 but still has managed just a 3-33 mark in his three years at the helm.
And the crown jewel of Jayhawk athletics isn’t immune to issues itself. While the Kansas men’s basketball team has won an amazing 14 straight Big 12 regular season titles under Bill Self, KU’s venerated 15-year head coach (44-97) finds his program embroiled in an FBI investigation that has linked shoe/apparel company adidas with allegedly paying recruits to attend adidas-affiliated schools, of which Kansas is one.
So Zenger’s replacement may have to not only replace the Jayhawks’ struggling football coach, but he’s also going to have to decide what to do about an incredibly successful though potentially tarnished men’s basketball coach.
If Self is forced out at Kansas, West Virginia and every other Big 12 basketball program suddenly sees the road to a league title in a different light.
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West Virginia University unveiled the final couple of pieces of its 2018-19 men’s basketball schedule last week, though in reality, those revelations weren’t a huge surprise.
With the official announcement that WVU will face Florida on Tuesday, Dec. 4 in the Jimmy V Classic in New York City and travel to Tennessee for a Saturday, Jan. 26 meeting with the Volunteers as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, the Mountaineers’ 13-game non-conference schedule is now complete. Not only will West Virginia play Florida and Tennessee this season, other highlights of the slate include a home games against Pitt on Dec. 8, Buffalo on Nov. 9 and Valparaiso on Nov. 24, a neutral site affair against Rhode Island in Uncasville, Conn., on Dec. 8 and the Myrtle Beach Invitational tournament (Nov. 15-18), whose field includes Wake Forest, St. Joseph’s and a yet-to-be named entrant, who will likely be from the Big Ten.
The one thing you don’t see on WVU’s schedule this season is a game in Charleston. This will be the second year in a row that the Mountaineer men’s team has not played in the State Capital.
Last season was the first time since 1991 that West Virginia has not held a men’s game in the Civic Center. Often it has played multiple games in that facility in a season, as the Charleston Classic against Marshall was an annual event from 1991-92 season through 2015-16. But now WVU is not playing the Herd in Charleston or anywhere else. And for the second year in a row, it is not playing in the Civic Center at all.
The Mountaineers have a long history of playing in Charleston, as they have been involved in 96 games there (74-22) dating all the way back to 1915. WVU has had a few other seasons in the last 60 years where it hasn’t made the trip to Charleston, but since 1959, this is just will be just the second time it will go two straight years without visiting the State Capital, 1987-88 being the other.
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West Virginia’s new wrestling coach Tim Flynn picked up his first recruit last week.
Alex Hornfeck, who just finished his senior season at Mars (Pa.) High School, committed to Flynn’s program. Hornfeck posted a 127-21 record in his four seasons competing at the 145-pound and 152-pound weight classes.