Paul to kick for Fairmont
by Chris Errington
What began as a rare opportunity to split time between
two fall sports has now earned Bridgeports Travis Paul a full-time college
Paul has accepted a football scholarship to NCAADivision
II Fairmont State and could become the teams kicker during his freshman
Im looking forward to kicking in college, Paul
said. When (Bridgeport coach Bruce)Carey asked me to kick, I had no idea
it would turn into this.
Paul was already a key member of Bridgeports stellar
soccer team, and well on his way to breaking the school record in the high
jump when a conversation with Carey made him a three-sport star.
I knew he had a strong foot and that his work ethic
was strong, too, Carey said, but I didnt know hed kick so well for
us, especially with only getting one day of practice. Now that he will
be concentrating his time on football, he will be fine.
Paul converted 5 of 9 field goal attempts, including
a long of 37 yards. And he made 32 of 33 extra points to accompany his
39.0-yard punting average. Paul has been chosen to play in this summers
North-South all-star game at Charlestons Laidley Field.
Paul could also get an opportunity to punt for Fairmont
if the schools regular punter, Nathan White, is once again hobbled by
I talked to (Fairmont State) coach (Doug) Sams
and he told me that if I can come in and do as good a job as Nathan or
even better, Ill get to do field goals and extra points, Paul said. Im
not even worried about punting. Thatll come later.
A satirical look at why 19-year-old
Mountaineer Field must be torn down
OK, before I start, let me say that many of you might
think Ive lost it. Others may say I never had it. And still others will
claim that Ive been on, as Don Nehlen likes to call it, that wacky tobacky.
But what I have to say must be said: Mountaineer Field must be torn
When West Virginia Universitys football stadium
opened in 1980, it was top-of-the-line, with the then-largest scoreboard
in college football as well as 55,000 seats. Expansion in the mid-1980s
raised the capacity to its present level of 63,500.
But today, 19 years later, the stadium lacks three
necessary commodities, components it needs to remain competitive in todays
A.) A grass playing surface,
B.) Hundreds of revenue-producing luxury boxes, and
C.) Bodies in the stands.
Checked out any Mountaineer football games lately?
With the exception of the first half of the opener against Ohio State,
there were at least 10,000 empty seats at every game this year. (The official
count at the Miami game was around 60,000, but thats got to include several
thousand phantom students.)
Go to the Gold-Blue game later this month. Only
the west-side stands will be open. And they still wont be close to being
Look at the Pittsburgh Pirates. They play at Three
Rivers Stadium, which used to seat 58,000 fans for baseball. But the franchise
brass, apparently tired of seeing empty seats at the 1992 National League
playoffs, decided to cover about 11,000 seats with tarpaulins.
Publicly, they claimed it was to create a baseball
atmosphere. How tarps in the outfield create atmosphere, Ill never know.
But I do know that, in reality, its a lesson in simple economics.
You know the law of supply and demand. By cutting
down the supply of tickets by 11,000, demand for the remaining 47,000 seats
should go up. And as demand rises, so can prices.
Why not here? Why not now?
Oh, sure, some of you also will complain that the
stadium isnt yet 20 years old. If it were a person, it couldnt even buy
Tell that to George Shinn, the owner of the Charlotte
Hornets, who wants a new arena because 11-year-old Charlotte Coliseum doesnt
have enough luxury suites. Or to the owners of the San Antonio Spurs, who
want to abandon the seven-year-old Alamodome for similar reasons.
And Three Rivers Stadium will be 30 years old next
year but the rumblings for a new stadium started in the late 80s, before
the stadium hit 20.
And WVU doesnt even have the newest stadium in
the Big East. Rutgers Stadium was rebuilt for 1994. Temple and Pittsburgh
are getting new digs, sharing them with the Eagles and Steelers. Boston
Colleges Alumni Stadium was remodeled a few years ago.
That simply means in todays market, Mountaineer Field cant possibly
So heres my suggestion to WVU AD Ed Pastilong:
Lobby Morgantown and Monongalia County to build a sparkling, intimate
(read: tiny) downtown stadium ... er, ballpark ... complete with the old-time
feel of Old Mountaineer Field and a retractable roof. Didnt you know all
ballparks in the 1800s had retractable roofs? (The Seattle Mariners figured
this out for their new Safeco Field.)
Anyway, if Mon County says no, just do what the
pro sports owners do: Hold the city hostage while you negotiate with another
Might I suggest Clarksburg? Bridgeport? Or Lost Creek?
Well gladly build you the ballpark, and sell the
naming rights to One Valley Bank or American Vending or somebody, anybody,
whos the highest bidder.
Luxury boxes? The new stadium will have those, too.
Not just 10, like this current Mountaineer Field. Were talking 150 of
them, each of em on the 50-yard line and each commanding about $2 million
per season, for a minimum of 10 years.
Personal seat licenses? Youve already got those
in place, cleverly disguised as student tuition and athletic fees.
Keep it up.
Oh, and Ed, while youre at it, take a wrecking
ball to the 29-year-old WVU Coliseum, too.
Same reasons apply.