Brady Ackerman, former Florida Gator running back and current radio personality in northern Florida, was hired earlier this year at West Virginia ostensibly to serve as a consultant to the academic advising group of the athletic department.
At the time of hire, nothing was made of Ackerman accepting a short-term position; in fact, (now deleted) updates to his Twitter account implied otherwise:
I am joining my good friend Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia to help him win championships. I will be on the football staff.
My first task is academics. This is pt of emphasis for Coach H. It will help get me up to speed on current and future athletes.
Eligibility requirements for current student athletes and prospective athletes is critical to recruiting. This is my first task.
His choice of language certainly sounds like Ackerman planned to have tasks beyond just academics and that this was far from a short-term proposition. But by mid-March, Ackerman was gone from Morgantown and the WVU program completely. Why?
Much of the story centers around a trip to New York City and the Big East Tournament. Ackerman, again only a contractor with the university, traveled to New York City and Madison Square Garden with Holgorsen and other members of the athletic department. That much has been confirmed by Oliver Luck.
In New York, a birthday party was held at a city restaurant in honor of President Clements' birthday. In attendance were Clements, Holgorsen, Ackerman, and head of Higher Education Policy Commission David Hendrickson. Hendrickson, you might remember, is well-connected within the university and Mountaineer athletics, as well as serving as Bill Stewart's attorney during his contract renegotiation last year.
During the party, multiple sources have informed Smoking Musket that disparaging remarks about Hendrickson were made by Ackerman, remarks of which Hendrickson was quickly made aware. Apparently, upon hearing these statements, Hendrickson held a conversation with President Clements. At the conclusion of that discussion, Clements supposedly informed Oliver Luck of the situation. Shortly thereafter, it seems, Ackerman was unceremoniously no longer a part of the Mountaineer program.
As news of Ackerman's departure started to swirl, Luck deflected questions of Ackerman's dismissal by stating that he had finished his work with the university and his employ was no longer needed (as reported by Mike Casazza, Charleston Daily Mail). Those statements by Luck, however, do not neatly match up with either Ackerman's initial tweets nor his travel to New York City only to be dumped out of the Puskar Center shortly thereafter.
Freedom of Information Act requests have been filed to WVU to determine whether Ackerman was indeed traveling to New York on the university's check book and the circumstances surrounding his initial hire. Regardless of the answer to those requests, there remain unanswered questions of Mr. Luck, the athletic department, and administration as a whole as to the exact role Ackerman was playing (or was to play) in the WVU football office.