Conference Concerns Cloud WVU Recruiting - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Conference Concerns Cloud WVU Recruiting

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MORGANTOWN -

Lost in this whole conference mess is the impact it has on the student-athletes.

Fans are worried, administrators remain publicly silent in their concern and the people playing and coaching the game continue to focus on what really matters to them, which is essentially anything other than conference realignment at this point.

It can't have an effect on them now with all they have going on in practice and in other aspects of their everyday lives and for many of them, they'll have left West Virginia University by the time real changes are made anyway.

Then there's the next generation of Mountaineer stars and they're the ones who will definitely deal with whatever amended conference WVU finds itself in.

The recruits that Dana Holgorsen and his staff are after truly don't know what league they're signing up for if they commit to play in Morgantown. It could be the Big East with a vastly different lineup or it could be something entirely new, but the one thing that is certain is it won't be what it is now when those players are graduating.

Many of the recruits you ask say they don't pay attention to it, knowing that the information they hear is constantly changing. But the truth is it matters to them. If they're considering a team in a conference that could potentially lose its automatic BCS qualification, they'd like to know that.

It could certainly be a source of negative recruiting from the competition. Pittsburgh and Syracuse coaches going after the same players as West Virginia have the simplest ammunition to use against the Mountaineers. It's Holgorsen and each of his coaches' jobs to do their best to deflect the bullets.

"We get questions from recruits about absolutely everything," Holgorsen said earlier this week. "That's called recruiting. Every time you talk to a recruit, you ask, ‘Do you have any questions?' They usually have questions, and you usually answer them."

Yes, but how do you answer a question that you yourself don't have the answer to?

Rather than try to predict an uncertain future, Holgorsen's tactic is to tell the kids exactly what he does know.

"I think the product that we put out there is very appealing to a whole lot of people," he says. "The atmosphere, the excitement, what you're putting out there on the field, what the athletic department brings to the table, perennial top 20 programs in football, men's and women's basketball. Why wouldn't you want to be a part of it?

"Why wouldn't West Virginia be attractive from a conference realignment standpoint and from a recruit's standpoint? I firmly believe that."

Holgorsen believes that the Mountaineers will remain real players in the college football world. Regardless of what conference affiliation it has, WVU will continue to compete with the top programs in the nation and have a chance to play for championships.

He cannot give detailed responses, but he can paint a picture that alleviates some fear from the recruits.

The group that came in for the UConn game was full of talent and they had a beautiful day in Morgantown with a beautifully executed game from the home team. A weekend like that can put some of the conference concerns on the back burner.

Ultimately, though, they resurface.

The questions will continue until there is a concrete answer from West Virginia's side as to what conference it will be playing football in. In the meantime, the game continues to be selling the athlete on things that have nothing to do with conference and everything to do with school and scheme.

Inside receivers coach Shannon Dawson believes the Mountaineers staff has a leg up on the competition in that regard.

"Facts don't lie," says Dawson. "Just Google what that school that's recruiting you, what they're doing with their receivers and Google what we're doing with our receivers and don't make this more complicated than it is. If you're going to pick that school, you're going to pick it for other reasons than playing receiver, and if you're going to pick based on that, then we probably don't want you anyway."

In the past week, WVU's staff went on the road and into homes of athletes the Mountaineers would certainly want in Morgantown. The question is whether or not they left the athletes feeling the same, despite a future that lacks certainty.

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