Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni made is best pitch Thursday night to continue the Capital Classic after the Herd lost to the Mountaineers for the fifth year in a row. “This game there are no winners or losers, this is a game for the state,” D’Antoni said of the annual match-up with West Virginia.
According to the Herald Dispatch, WVU athletic director has not yet signed the contract to play Marshall next season. The Mountaineers have an agreement with the Charleston Civic Center to play two games there per year. However, that agreement does not specify the Mountaineers opponent. According to the article Shane Lyons stated, “This is the last year of the contract and obviously the last year of the sponsorship as well, we haven’t talked about future scheduling at this point.”
According to sources at Marshall there is concern that West Virginia has no intention of renewing the game. The statement by Lyons verifies the concern in Huntington that WVU may be done with the series, at least for the time being. The 2016-2017 schedule is almost complete, if Lyons were to agree to continue the Classic he would be doing it soon. It just doesn’t seem that is the case at the moment.
Honestly, if this is about money, which I assume is a large part of it, Marshall should understand West Virginia’s stance. Traveling twice the distance, bringing twice the fans, but splitting the profit is not exactly a good business model.
Huggins has also voiced his displeasure with playing Marshall, especially after last season. Marshall is not exactly an RPI building opponent and D’Antoni’s actions after last season’s game definitely rubbed Huggins the wrong way. Lastly, despite a crowd of over 11,000 last night this game has seen a lower turnout in past years.
Whether or not WVU renews the Classic is still unknown but time if off the essence and it doesn’t look promising. One thing seems apparent though, the ball is in Shane Lyon’s court.