West Virginia Mountaineers

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On heels of WVU visit, Kentucky transfer WR set for trip to Oklahoma

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It appears the battle for the services of an SEC wide receiver may very well come down to a pair of Big 12 schools.

According to WVMetroNews.com, Jeff Badet visited West Virginia late last month.  This weekend, the same website is reporting, the receiver is scheduled to visit conference rival Oklahoma.

OU, of course, is coached by Bob Stoops.  Stoops’ younger brother, Mark Stoops, coached Badet for the past four seasons at Kentucky.

In mid-January, the Wildcats announced that Badet had decided to transfer out of the UK football program.  Badet is on schedule to graduate in May, meaning he’d be eligible to play immediately in 2017 regardless of where he lands at the FBS level.

A three-star member of the Wildcats’ 2013 recruiting class, Badet was third on the team in receptions and receiving yards as a true freshman.  A leg injury in spring practice the following year — a tennis ball to the eye didn’t help either — led Badet to miss the 2014 season.  Returning in 2015, he was third in receiving (29-430); in 2016, he led the team in receiving yards (670) and yards per catch (21.6).

That latter number was tops in the SEC and sixth nationally.

Syracuse grad transfer Corey Winfield lands at West Virginia

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A little over two months after leaving one former Big East football program, Corey Winfield has landed at another.

On his social media accounts Friday night, Winfield revealed that he will continue his collegiate playing career at West Virginia.  The defensive back will be coming to Morgantown as a graduate transfer, meaning he’ll be eligible to play for the Mountaineers in 2017.

This upcoming year will be his final season of eligibility.

In late November, Winfield announced his intention to transfer from Syracuse. His departure from the Orange came not long after a rather scary incident that involved a former and then-current teammate.

Winfield was one of two ‘Cuse defensive backs who were stabbed by a former Orange defensive back, Naesean Howard, in a frightening incident last April.

Howard allegedly went into an unprompted “rage” shortly after showing up at an on-campus barbecue celebrating an SU student’s birthday, first stabbing Chauncey Scissum near his jaw. Winfield, one of a handful of ‘Cuse football players in attendance, intervened on his teammate’s behalf and was stabbed multiple times in the arms, chest and ribs.

Winfield is a two-year starter for the Orange.  His four pass breakups this past season were tied for the team lead.

West Virginia hires Alabama grad assistant as CBs coach

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To plug the latest gap in his West Virginia coaching staff, Dana Holgorsen has dipped into the deep well of assistants Nick Saban has accumulated in Tuscaloosa.

The football program confirmed Friday that Doug Belk has been hired to serve as the Mountaineers’ cornerbacks coach.  Belk will replace Danny “Blue” Adams, who left earlier this week for a job at South Florida.

This will mark Belk’s first on-field job at the FBS level.

“We would like to welcome Doug to the West Virginia football program,” Holgorsen said. “He comes highly recommended and brings several years of successful secondary experience at high-level programs. He will be a great addition to our staff.”

The past three seasons, Belk has been a defensive graduate assistant at Alabama.  Prior to that, he was at Valdosta State for three years, the last two as secondary coach.

“I’m excited to come to West Virginia University and be a part of a program that does an outstanding job of developing players and has a great winning tradition,” Belk said. “I want to thank Coach Holgorsen and Coach Gibson for giving me this opportunity to be a part of the coaching staff and the Mountaineer football program and to contribute to the program’s continued success.”

Arizona RBs coach Tony Dews formally takes same job at WVU

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A couple of days after reports had surfaced, Dana Holgorsen has officially made an addition to his West Virginia coaching staff.

WVU confirmed in a press release Wednesday that Tony Dews has been hired as the Mountaineers running backs coach.  Dews replaces JaJuan Seider, who left earlier this month to take the same job at Florida.

“Tony brings years of experience and has a good knowledge of the WVU football program from his previous time here,” Holgorsen said in a statement. “He is a proven recruiter who has enjoyed success at other schools and will add a lot to our coaching staff and football program. I look forward to him and his family rejoining the Mountaineer Football family.”

Dews was a graduate assistant at WVU under Rich Rodriguez.  The past five years, Dews worked as wide receivers coach on Rodriguez’s Arizona staff.

He also spent time on coaching staffs at Pittsburgh (2011) and Michigan (2008-10), the latter stop of which was also under Rodriguez.

“I am excited about returning to Morgantown and West Virginia University,” Dews said. “This has always been a special place because of the great people associated with the school, the football program and the state. This is a new challenge and an outstanding opportunity for my coaching career. Coach Dana Holgorsen has WVU football playing at a high level, and I look forward to working with him and coach Jake Spavital and learning their brand of offensive football and making a contribution to the Mountaineer football program.

“I would like to thank coach Don Nehlen, coach Rich Rodriguez and coach Calvin Magee for introducing me to Mountaineer football years ago, giving me the opportunity to learn and helping me advance my coaching career. My family and I look forward to being closer to home and once again being a part of the Mountaineer football family.”

Big 12 to withhold 25 percent of Baylor’s revenue ‘pending third-party verification of changes’

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Baylor’s conference is laying down what could prove to be a very significant financial hammer on the university.  Or a means to change. One of the two.

The Big 12 announced Wednesday that it withhold 25 percent of future revenue payments to BU, only releasing the monies “pending the outcome of third-party verification review of required changes to Baylor’s athletics procedures and to institutional governance of its intercollegiate athletics programs, among other matters.” According to the conference’s release, its board of directors voted unanimously on the measure.

Baylor itself didn’t have a vote in the matter.

“The Board is unified in establishing a process to verify that proper institutional controls are in place and sustainable,” said Oklahoma president and Big 12 board chairman David Boren in a statement. “Effective immediately, the Conference is withholding 25 percent of Baylor’s share of any future revenue distribution until the proper execution of controls is independently verified. By taking these actions the Board desires to ensure that the changes that were promised are actually made and that systems are in place to avoid future problems. The proportional withholding of revenue distribution payments will be in effect until the Board has determined that Baylor is in compliance with Conference bylaws and regulations as well as all components of Title IX.”

The action is in direct response to the sexual assault scandal that enveloped the school last year and resulted in the head football coach, athletic director and president losing their jobs.

On its surface, the measure could cost the university’s athletic department upwards of $8 million annually if the revenue that’s being held doesn’t ultimately find its way to the school. The reality, though, is this is appears to merely be a way for the conference to push one of its members toward enacting changes that are wholly necessary.

In that vein, the university’s acting president, David E. Garland, released a statement shortly after the Big 12’s announcement, highlighting the actions the school has taken in the wake of the scandal.

Upon learning the scope and scale of the troubling incidents that occurred within our campus community through an independent investigation, Baylor University took unprecedented corrective actions that led to leadership changes within the University administration and athletic department and 105 recommendations to strengthen the safety and security of our students. No other university in the country has responded as aggressively and decisively as Baylor regarding incidents of sexual assaults on its campus.

“Under the University’s new leadership, Baylor has demonstrated a firm commitment to athletics compliance and integrity, increased awareness and prevention of sexual assault, implementation of Title IX best practices and providing comprehensive support services for any student in need of them. Baylor already had planned to hire an outside auditor to audit the implementation of our enhanced practices, and we welcome the Big 12 Conference’s request of an independent review. While the withholding of conference distributions is an unexpected financial event, we do not deem these actions to materially impact the overall financial position of the University. We pledge our full cooperation, and we will work with the Big 12 Conference to conduct the audit as expeditiously as possible.

“This third-party review at the request of the Big 12 Conference will provide an opportunity for us to demonstrate our progress to date and our ongoing commitment in establishing Baylor as a leading institution in athletics compliance and governance and for preventing and addressing sexual assaults on college campuses.