WVSSAC needs to provide more rooms

November 28, 2018

Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.

Here are the opinions du jour.

• The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission doesn’t supply enough housing for teams competing in the “Super Six” football state championships at Wheeling.

That is why Spring Valley High School is scrambling around to conduct a fundraising campaign even as I write this.

The undefeated Timberwolves have a roster of approximately 106 players. Then, there is head coach Brad Dingess and the other 12 members of his coaching staff. And, of course, there is the team doctor, trainer, video/film coordinator, equipment manager and statistician.

So, how many hotel rooms are allocated to Spring Valley and Martinsburg for their Triple-A state championship game at noon Saturday in Wheeling Island Stadium? Only 15 rooms a piece. That’s no more than a drop in the accommodations bucket.

Even if Spring Valley utilized all 15 rooms just for players and put three to a room, it would house less than half the squad. And when a school has players the size of Doug Nester, 6-foot-6, 312 pounds; Zach Williamson, 6-6, 275 pounds; and Wyatt Milum, 6-6, 240 pounds. ... well, we all know they each need their own bed. Yet, that is the SSAC’s standard.

“We give the Triple-A teams 15 rooms for their players and coaches,” said Bernie Dolan, SSAC executive secretary, during a telephone interview on Monday morning. “Then, Double-A gets 13 rooms and Single-A gets 10 rooms. Anything over that the school has to pick up the rest.

“But we do give four rooms to each school’s cheerleaders and one room for their coach.”

And the band?

It is on its own.

Hence, Spring Valley’s fundraising campaign. But I’m certain there are similar circumstances for Fairmont Senior and Bluefield, which play at 7 p.m. Friday for the Double-A championship at Wheeling Island Stadium, as well as for Williamstown, which plays hometown favorite Wheeling Central at 7 p.m. Saturday for the Class A title.

It’s a hardship for all those schools to try to raise money during — of all times — the Christmas season.

Yet, that’s the situation they are put in by the SSAC. Not that the SSAC doesn’t have its own set of problems. It certainly does. I understand that.

That’s why I’m not calling for the SSAC to house Spring Valley’s entire travel group. That would be absurd. Yet, I also believe a meager 15 rooms for a Class AAA football team and its coaching staff is equally absurd.

The current scenario is simply unacceptable and if the SSAC isn’t going take steps toward improving the situation, then the State Board of Education needs to step in. It needs fixed.

• Remember WVU’s famed “Press Virginia”?

Well, everybody might want to forget it.

At least, for this basketball season. The Mountaineers simply don’t have the quickness, tenacity, athleticism or mindset to play the suffocating, full-court defense they’ve made famous.

Maybe next season.

• Looking for a silver lining in Marshall’s ugly 104-67 loss to Maryland last Friday night?

Well, believe it or not, there was one.

The chrome plating’s name is Jannson Williams. The 6-8 sophomore was the lone bright spot for the Thundering Herd with 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting (including 5-for-6 on threes), five rebounds and three blocked shots.

While the rest of the Herd struggled, Williams proved his potential. It wasn’t a fluke, either.

Look for Williams to continue to shine.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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