West Virginia Mountaineers

Beer

Pitt joins trend of stadium-wide beer sales for football games

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Ohio State announced earlier this month that it would be offering cold beers to all of-age fans during football games this fall in The ‘Shoe.  A couple of weeks later, a fellow FBS member to the east has followed suit.

As part of its press release on new fan initiatives for the 2016 season, Pittsburgh announced that beer will be sold stadium-wide throughout Heinz Field this upcoming football season.  Prior to this season, alcohol sales were only permitted to those ticket holders in the club and suite sections of the stadium.

The first opportunity for fans to take advantage of the new policy is the home opener against Villanova Sept. 3.  The ACC opener Oct. 8 against Georgia Tech.

From the press release:

The expansion of this amenity will coincide with the implementation of appropriate safety measures for Pitt game days, ensuring the continuation of a fan and family friendly environment for all. (Such measures are already in place for Steelers home games. Aramark, Heinz Field’s official food and beverage concessionaire, provides comprehensive staff training in the sale of alcohol.) A portion of the funds from beer sales proceeds will be dedicated to drug and alcohol education programs for the overall student body through Pitt’s Division of Student Affairs.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, there are now nine Power Five members with a similar beer policy for football games.  One of the nine is West Virginia, with the Post-Gazette writing that athletic director Scott Barnes cited data from WVU “suggesting that beer sales in the stadium could actually cut down on alcohol-related incidents.”

QB-turned-WR David Sills leaving WVU to try hand as JUCO QB

PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 02:  Wide reciever David Sills #15 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates after catching 15 yard touchdown reception against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the fourth quarter of the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl at Chase Field on January 2, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Mountaineers defeated the Sun Devils 43-42.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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As evidenced by his play on the field last season, David Sills had the talent to make an impact on the receiving end of the passing game at West Virginia.  In his mind, however, the sophomore still has the itch to be the triggerman of said passing game.

WVU announced in a press release Thursday morning that Sills has decided to transfer out of Mountaineers football program.  According to a statement from Dana Holgorsen, Sills is moving on to an unspecified junior college “to pursue his dream of playing quarterback” at the collegiate level.

“We appreciate everything David has done for the Mountaineer football program. He has done everything asked of him and has been a great teammate,” the head coach said in a statement. “He has decided to transfer to pursue his dream of playing quarterback in college. We wish him nothing but the best in all of his future endeavors on and off the field.”

Sills was a three-star signee in 2015 who was rated as the No. 19 pro-style quarterback in the country.  He was moved to receiver, however, and caught seven passes for 131 yards and a pair of touchdowns in eight games as a true freshman.

This spring, the Mountaineers allowed Sills to get work in as a quarterback.

“(Sills) is in the quarterback room now. He wants to be a quarterback,” said Holgorsen back in March. “When he’s out there – and we can’t be out there with him – but you see him go from quarterback to receiver drill and moves back and forth a little bit. We’ll let it play out and see how it goes.”

Sills is arguably best known for accepting a scholarship offer from then-USC head coach Lane Kiffin as a 13-year-old seventh grader back in February of 2010.  He ultimately decommitted from the Trojans in June of 2014, a few months after Kiffin was canned.

Big 12 announces return of title game, 20-percent increase in revenue payouts

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For those members of the Big 12 who are fans of title games and money, Friday was a very good day.

In the biggest news of the afternoon, commissioner Bob Bowlsby revealed that the conference has approved a measure that will allow for the implementation — or re-implementation, as the case may be — of a league championship game in football.  The return of the Big 12 title game will come at the end of the 2017 regular season, although details, such as location, are still up in the air.

In perhaps the most surprising news coming out of this particular development, the vote to reinstate the title game was unanimous.

The first-ever Big 12 title game in football coincided with the league’s first season in 1996.  It was played every year through the 2010 season, when conference expansion — the league lost Colorado and Nebraska prior to the 2011 season — and NCAA rules forced the Big 12 to abandon the game.  In January of this year, the Big 12 won approval to stage a championship game without 12 members as previously required by the NCAA.

The Big 12 will continue on with its round-robin schedule — every team playing the other nine schools every season — as required by the new rule.  On twist, however, is that, per Bowlsby, the Big 12 will likely split into two, five-team divisions; how those divisions will be split is to be determined.

And now we come to the money portion of the program, as it relates to this topic specifically and revenue in general.

That financial windfall is on top of the $30.4 million in revenue distribution each member institution received for the previous year, Bowlsby announced Friday. That’s up 20 percent from a year ago, and third among Power Five conferences behind only the SEC and Big 10.  It also doesn’t include third-tier media rights (Texas makes $15 million from that category, Oklahoma $6 million).

There won’t, however, be an additional revenue stream for conference membership as a whole as Bowlsby also confirmed that the conference has scrapped its plans for a league-wide television network. “Not the time for us to consider [a network],” the commissioner stated, with Oklahoma president David Boren saying the idea is effectively dead..

One final note: the conference’s board has authorized the Big 12 staff to work with consultants on “conference composition” — i.e. expansion.  Earlier this month, Bowlsby stated that he hoped the expansion issue would be resolved, one way or the other, before the end of summer.

It still appears unlikely that the Big 12 will add two additional members — Texas is believed to be staunchly against expansion — but it’s a situation that will bear monitoring throughout the next couple of months.

On Big 12 revote, Baker Mayfield gets another year of eligibility

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 5:  Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates a touchdown against the Akron Zips September 5, 2015 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Akron 41-3.(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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Say this for the Big 12: they very quickly recognized as asinine decision and, to their credit, reversed course.

In a 5-5 vote Wednesday, the Big 12 shot down a rule proposed by Oklahoma that would’ve permitted walk-ons to transfer within the conference without restrictions.  The proposed rule, which failed due to the lack of a clear majority vote as well as disdain for both common sense and fairness, had been dubbed the “Baker Mayfield rule” in honor of the the OU quarterback who transferred from Texas Tech as a walk-on.

Earlier today it was reported that the Big 12 was going to reconsider that rule; in its reconsideration, the conference reversed course and, by a 7-3 vote, approved the measure.

The new measure will allow a walk-on at one Big 12 school to transfer within the conference and not face restrictions if his first school does not offer him a scholarship.  If that school does offer a scholarship, the walk-on can still transfer within the conference but must sit out a season.

As an added bonus for both Mayfield and the Sooners, the rule will retroactively apply to the quarterback, which means, if he so chooses, he would have another season of eligibility to use during the 2017 season.  Mayfield was not offered a scholarship upon leaving Tech, thus his grandfathering in under this new edict.

Mayfield took note of the reversal on Twitter, and seemingly indicated he’ll use that extra year.

Report: Big 12 reconsidering ‘Baker Mayfield rule’

STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 28:  Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates with fans after beating the Oklahoma State Cowboys 58-23 at Boone Pickens Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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That whole thing about the Big 12 rule that was tabled a day ago? Never mind. Pretend it never happened. Maybe.

In a 5-5 vote Wednesday, the Big 12 shot down a rule proposed by Oklahoma that would’ve permitted walk-ons to transfer within the conference without restrictions.  The proposed rule, which failed due to the lack of a clear majority vote as well as disdain for both common sense and fairness, had been dubbed the “Baker Mayfield rule” in honor of the the OU quarterback who transferred from Texas Tech as a walk-on.

The non-passage of the rule could be short-lived, however, as ESPN.com‘s Jake Trotter is reporting that “the Big 12 is reconsidering the rule change with different language.” That language “would allow a walk-on’s school to offer a scholarship to keep him,” and then “[i]f the walk-on then still elected to transfer within the conference, the player would face the league’s transfer eligibility restrictions.”

Should the rule be enacted, it would give Mayfield, a preseason Heisman favorite who finished fourth in the voting last year, another season of eligibility he could use in 2017.