by Jim Buzzerd
West Virginia University football fans can say goodbye to quarterback Jarret Doege. The senior has one year of eligibility left and announced last Friday via Twitter that he would be looking for a new home next season. The announcement was welcomed by many West Virginia fans that have been, rightly or wrongly, made Doege the brunt of criticism for the better part of two seasons. In this ever-growing age of technology, a fan’s opinion can make it into cyber space and on to a social media page with the click of a button.
I’ve seen nasty comments directed at Doege in WVU sports forums and many are a little too personal and tasteless. Apparently, some of these type comments have reached Doege’s personal account pages, and some reportedly went way too far.
Doege has had a tough go of it as the WVU quarterback. He’s had some pretty good games and gets no mercy from the vocal fans. Then there are a number of games like last Tuesday’s 18-6 loss to Minnesota in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, where the offensive line gave him literally no time to get into pass plays. As a result, Doege took quite a beating in yet another.
In his farewell Tweet Doege wrote, “I will forever be grateful for the friendships and memories I’ve made at WVU over the past three years. Thank you to the coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to live out a lifelong dream of mine. West Virginia will always have a special place in my heart. I am excited about the future and will be looking for a new home for the 2022 season.” Nowhere in that statement did he address the fans of the Mountaineers.
Doege’s announcement came hours after his leading receiver Winston Wright announced that he would be entering the transfer portal. Another solid receiver, Isaiah Esdale, entered the portal before the bowl game. Rumors have surfaced that Bryce Ford-Wheaton and Sean Ryan are considering doing the same. It’s not clear if the rash of portal entries is anything but normal for most NCAA schools. Most schools have to deal with it since the NCAA began to allow student athletes to transfer without sitting out a season.
Further complicating matters is the new NIL opportunities adopted by the NCAA. Name, image and likeness (NIL) is essentially a person’s personal brand. NIL legislation will allow student-athletes to profit off that brand through a variety of channels. This is not a pay-for-play model, which would allow student-athletes to be compensated from a school in exchange for participating in a sport.
Schools with the boosters with the deepest pockets will benefit the most, as they always have, it’s just legal now. I’m not sure how well West Virginia can compete in that arena. I don’t see college football, as we have known it, to be around much longer.
Look at Oklahoma true freshman starting quarterback Caleb Williams. Williams took over the starting job from pre-season Heisman hopeful Spencer Rattler several games into the season. Rattler is now at South Carolina. On Monday Williams entered the transfer portal.
Williams said that staying at Oklahoma would “definitely be an option” as he goes through the process. He explained that, as a student-athlete, the only way under NCAA rules he could speak to other schools and “see who may offer the best preparation and development for my future career is by entering the portal.”
Got to love that preparation and development comment. I would rewrite that something like this, “$$$$$$$$$$$.” I don’t think.