(Update 9:18 a.m. Wednesday -- The post in question has now disappeared. It is no longer on the message board)
Someone is an idiot --- I just can't figure out if it is a message board poster or someone on the West Virginia staff who granted a certain someone access to the team's practice on Tuesday.
Again, though, someone is an idiot.
Here we go as to the reason why ...
On Tuesday night, I received the following email from someone, which are the direct contents of a message board post on BlueGoldNews.com (a Scout.com affiliate), which along with WVSports.com (a Rivals.com affiliate) is one of the two most popular message boards for WVU football fans.
Here is the post by a person named, PW4PREZ made at 6:03 p.m. on Tuesday:
Title: Over heard a convo today at practice.....I was at practice today and there were two guys from the athletic department sitting beside me having a conversation about stadium expansion and new boxes....one of the men was saying that he has seen numerous layouts of the stadium where there are 10,000 seats on top of the touchdown terrace and the box seats that are up by the consession stands are going to be turned into professional style boxes just like the ones in the touchdown terrace and the ones in the puskar center.....they said all the new seats should add up to 12-15,000 more seats in the stadium....thought it was pretty interesting, but ill probably get bashed and asked for a link which i don't have.....
practice was up beat and we looked pretty sharp. numerous running backs were taking snaps (trey johnson,shawne alston,ryan clarke,jock sanders,tavon austin). noel did not take a snap but he was running full speed and doing all the drills....
P.S. Quinton Spain was there doing everything he should be doing....
OK, there are a couple things at play here.
The first portion of the post (and, really, the most unimportant stuff) is about the stadium expansion. I sent a high-level someone in the athletic department this post, and, as per the stadium expansion stuff, their response was: "No way that is being looked at. Not even close. Not even close."
So, now that we have that out of the way, let us please get to the meat of the situation --- the second and much more newsworthy and idiotic portion of this message board posting, everything that comes below "BTW"
PW4PREZ (I'm guess that is not their real name) actually went to practice, at the invitation of someone on the coaching staff, and immediately went home to their computer (or used their mobile device) to share with the world personnel matters about what is, supposed to be, a very private gathering. This person felt the need to tell the world that no fewer than five running backs were taking snaps, the No. 1 running back wasn't and that a highly-touted offensive lineman was "doing everything he should be doing."
Here are the problems with such a post:
1. Why? When you are invited into practice, you should understand things that happen within those confines are not to be shared with the general public, let alone posting them on a message board. I'm guessing Bill Stewart (and I haven't spoken to him about this) isn't very happy with this personnel information being out there for public consumption. Then again, by inviting some ying-yangs into practice, he has no one to blame but himself.
2. The coaching staff at West Virginia (and many other places, to be fair) goes to enormous lengths to make sure the media sees none, or only a very, very, limited amount of practice. For instance, at WVU, they have a policy where no member of the media is allowed to view one second of a regular-season practice. We can watch limited amounts of the following: spring ball, preseason camp and bowl practice. But, we cannot watch regular-season practice. It is not an error to say that PW4PREZ saw more practice Tuesday than all the WVU beat writers, combined, will see all regular season.
The staff excludes media from practice due in large part because they don't want tidbits like personnel groupings and injuries being reported --- something that was precisely placed on a message board Tuesday evening.
So, with all this said, I will never get it. I will never understand the atmosphere around football practice where they exclude professionals, who would know better than to report such things (or at least be given guidelines) but the staff allows fans/friends in, who observe something and then head to a message board quickly to post it.
Seems out of whack to me.
I don't know who is to blame here --- the message board poster who has the inside information and when they share it is actually being counterproductive to their favorite team, or the staff, which lets in certain people (but excludes the media) and gets burned like this.
Perhaps the truth is this: There is idiocy on both sides.
And there is also truth in this: If you are going to close practice, close it to everyone. If you are going to have it open, make sure the people in there are people you can trust.