WVU Football

Bill Stewart: Did He Promote an Atmosphere of Compliance at WVU?

Bill Stewart
Bill StewartKevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Jeff WoollardCorrespondent IIJune 10, 2011

Lost amid the recent turmoil in Morgantown, WV that is the head coaching situation at West Virginia University is the ongoing NCAA investigation into the football program.

For the record, here is a copy of the NCAA letter of allegations to WVU, along with athletic director Oliver Luck’s statement on the allegation letter. Bill Stewart’s letter of allegations from the NCAA is here.

Jack Bogaczyk predicts the NCAA is close to sending its findings to Luck in his most recent article.

It is surreal to see the findings of an NCAA investigation play a secondary role to any other story.

Keep in mind that the NCAA investigation’s most damaging allegation is that Stewart failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance at WVU. Add that Luck may find that Stewart has failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance with him as well.

To make matters worse, Stewart has decided to change his representation. Michael Benninger, a personal injury specialist, has replaced David Hendrickson.

It seems a day does not go by that either another of Stewart’s supporters removes himself from his graces or he removes them. Embattled does not do Stewart’s current situation justice.

Mountaineer Nation should prepare itself for the season ahead sans Stewart. The weight of NCAA allegations coupled with Stewart’s alleged involvement to smear Dana Holgorsen’s reputation will be too much for Stewart to overcome.

Unfortunately, the story does not end for Luck with Stewart’s departure. Every pregame show of every WVU game that is televised will rehash the ugly divorce that is Stewart’s probable departure.

Oliver Luck’s future as athletic director at WVU will be forever linked to Holgorsen and his success and ability to win football games. Anything less than a Big East title and BCS bowl berth could be disastrous for Luck and Holgorsen.

WVU needs to win, and win big, to put this nasty story behind it.

Still, a fan has to ask, how did WVU get here?

It started in the wee hours of the morning during a postgame celebration of WVU’s dismantling of the Oklahoma Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl. Individuals that may have had their judgment clouded by that celebration hired Bill Stewart.

An individual is left to wonder how much, if at all, the consumption of alcohol was involved in Stewart’s hire.

Ironic that Holgorsen would be the center of controversy over a late night/early morning incident at a casino involving alcohol, while Stewart’s hire was during a similar late night/early morning celebration possibly involving alcohol.

It is worth noting that none of the individuals that were involved with Stewart’s hire that late night/early morning are still in their respective positions at WVU.

When Stewart was hired, he stated that he would not do anything to hurt WVU and promised that he would know when it was time to leave.

However, when a fan decides to look at the current situation in Morgantown, Stewart has not been as forthright as he promised he would be. Bill Stewart is not the man nor the coach he portrayed himself to be.

The lone constant to this drama, Stewart’s demise is not what any Mountaineer fan first envisioned for him. Whether a fan approved of his coaching ability or did not, in the beginning, all of Mountaineer Nation respected Bill Stewart the individual.

In the end, it is Stewart’s decision to relinquish that respect that bothers fans the most. Stewart was thought to be one of the last of a dying breed of elder statesmen. Alas, he is just as fallible as anyone, maybe more.

There is a life lesson in that realization, though the circumstances may be too fresh for anyone to comprehend that lesson. Time will tell.

As it stands, Stewart has let all of Mountaineer Nation down. Maybe more importantly, he has let himself down.

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