West Virginia Football
Cedar Grove High School
Syracuse University Project Advance
Choosing a university/athletic team or club was a simple task, as a prior visit to West Virginia University elucidated the overall environment and mission of the school as a whole. The football team is my point of focus and my choice is motivated by their past success. West Virginia University or WVU (as I refer to it mostly in this following paper) as a whole stands to create an all inclusive community for all those seeking prosperity in knowledge and athletics. The institution is a very open-minded and efficient place to further your education and flourish in sports as the very successful 738-487-45 football record and the above average graduation rate show.
The Purpose and Mission of West Virginia University Football
The purpose of this athletics organization is quite simple: win and assist athletes in furthering their careers. Also, they aim to sell tickets and merchandise for the betterment of their fields and venues as all sports programs aim to do. “In 2016, WVU football had its 6th most successful year selling tickets with a total of 403,084 total consumers.” Selling tickets obviously comes easier when you have a winning team and after “another capacity crowd saw the Mountaineers beat TCU to improve to 6-0, that sellout was announced 10 days in advance.” (http://wvmetronews.com) According the the school's main website, “As a land-grant institution, the faculty, staff and students at West Virginia University commit to creating a diverse and inclusive culture that advances education, healthcare and prosperity for all by providing access and opportunity; by advancing high-impact research; and by leading transformation in West Virginia and the world through local, state and global engagement.” (http://about.wvu.edu/mission) Furthermore, diving more in depth into the specification of the mission of the athletics states, “The mission of the West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is to provide the means to empower student-athletes to develop as leaders and achieve their full potential academically, athletically and personally. As an integral part of WVU, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is committed to supporting the broader mission of the University through the integration of athletics in the academic community.” (http://wvusports.com/sports/2017/9/25/mission-statement) When asked how the athletes in the organization follow through on their part of the mission statement, Matt Wells who is currently employed at WVU as an Associate Assistant Atletic Director, answered, “Basically, through their on and off the field portayal of themselves, they give positive reinforcement of the mission Statement and betterment of the Mountaineer community as a whole.” (Matt Wells) As well as overlooking his usual duties as an Assistant Director, Wells specializes in External affairs meaning he oversees the WVU Sports Marketing and Mountaineer Ticket Office. Wells specified the importance of passion for his work by saying, “Whether they're single-game ticket buyers or season ticket holders or corporate sponsors, they're all passionate about the team you work for. I count that as a blessing.” (Wells)
The History of the Mountaineer Football Team
The West Virginia University football program began on November 28, 1891 when its first team fell to Washington & Jefferson 72–0 on a field that was originally a cow pasture. Despite its sub-par beginning, West Virginia managed a 25–23–3 overall record prior to 1900, which proved to be a semi successful time for the squad. (http://bleacherreport.com) It only gets better from there as The Mountaineers have registered 82 winning seasons in their history, including one unbeaten season. They have won or shared conference championships on 15 different occasions as well as appearing in 34 bowl games. Their past is a very numbered and colored one as they have compiled an insane amount of games played over their long history.
Stakeholders in WVU as well as many other or all colleges include fans, coaches, students, and alumni. Coaches must perform and make their team perform in order to sell tickets to make fans happy, which will bait alumni to come see a historic WVU season in a reminiscent sense. Student attendance is a given in schools like WVU. “Football and basketball players are treated like celebrities here, student tickets are so hard to acquire that we have on-campus programs to be a season ticket holding student in a sense. Football, being such a main event at the institution, hauls in a lot of capital that is redirected into maintaining and upgrading the field complexes.” (Mia)
WVU football's most hated rivals include the PITT Panthers. When these two teams clash it is known as the Backyard Brawl. Often, these games are very close and extremely hard to estimate the final scores and the victor. As well as PITT, the Penn State Nittany Lions were a bitter rival of the squad. “There was once a time when WVU fans could not choose who to hate more, PITT or PSU.” (Bob Allen) In more recent years however, the two teams have not thrown down. A very close to home rival is the Virginia Tech Hokies. WVU is the land-grant institution of Virginia of which they are very proud. This eats alive at the Hokies leading to an ever so bitter rivalry. When these two teams face, it is known as the Black Diamond trophy. All three of these teams are considered major rivals of the Mountaineers and in turn, massive competitors.
Main Issues of the Organization
Rough seasons and a few unsuccsesful recruiting instances later, the west virginia football team's attendance before the almost historic season attendance of 2016 caused ratings and overall interest to drop. “This past football season, West Virginia's home attendance dipped below the 55,00-mark for the second time since 2004. In 2012, the Mountaineers first year in the Big 12, WVU averaged just over 52,000 fans per game.” (Matthew Peaslee)
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