The Strange Case of West Virginia's Tevita Finau

RG YohoCorrespondent IAugust 15, 2009

MORGANTOWN, WV - DECEMBER 1:  Backup quarterback Jarrett Brown #16 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates after rushing for a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the first half at Milan Puskar Stadium December 1, 2007 in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

For the past couple of years, West Virginia Mountaineer fans have been expectantly awaiting the arrival of Tevita Finau.

Recruited heavily by the Mountaineers, Finau is listed as a 6’5”, 275-pound defensive end from a junior college in Phoenix, Arizona. In addition, Finau is reported to run an impressive 4.8 forty-yard-dash time.

Mountaineer fans have been repeatedly asking the same question: “Where is Tevita Finau?”

And to be quite honest with you, as someone who devotedly follows the Mountaineers from season to season, I cannot actually tell you when the elusive quest for Finau actually began.

Was it two years ago or three? Has he enrolled? Will he or won’t he?

Every year it is a new round of questions.

According to the reports from last year, Finau didn’t make it to Morgantown because he failed to achieve the necessary academic credits. Apparently, he is still having difficulties with those same issues.

In an interview this past week, Coach Bill Stewart was once again questioned about Finau’s arrival. However—and this is not to be taken as a slam against Stewart—his answer left me wondering if the coach really knows anything more about the situation than I do.

Moreover, it might be easier for Indiana Jones to find the Ark of the Covenant than for West Virginia fans to learn the truth about this seemingly over-hyped football prospect.

I cannot claim to have any personal knowledge of Mr. Finau. However, I do know that he can’t make any impact for West Virginia if he doesn’t ever play there.

So let me go on record as saying that I would bet my last dollar that you will never see Tevita Finau wearing a Mountaineer uniform!

If the man will not or cannot do what it takes to meet the requirements to gain his status as a member of the football team, then what makes you think that he will do the hard work in the classroom or on the practice field to earn his place on the depth chart?

The whole situation with Finau reminds me of the tragic case of the much-heralded, former Mountaineer, Jason Gwaltney. Unlike Finau, Gwaltney actually made his way to Morgantown and won his spot on the field.

However, Gwaltney’s obvious talents were squandered in his failure to meet his requirements on and off the field. And in that way, the situations with Finau and Gwaltney are quite similar.

Ultimately, both of them failed to live up to the hype!

There are some incredibly talented athletes all across this county who clearly have the potential to play for Division-I football programs. Yet despite their talent, they often fail to do the work or meet the minimum requirements for eligibility.

And when it comes right down to it, the blame for their failure is solely the responsibility of the student-athletes, not the institutions that recruited them!

West Virginia football fans need to forget about Tevita Finau, the three-time, letter of intent signee.

This West Virginia team has some hard-working and talented athletes fighting to gain first-team status at defensive end. These players who have justly earned their right to wear the uniform are the ones who deserve your praise and attention, not Mr. Finau.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.