Last week, on Tuesday, the West Virginia Mountaineers were dealt a knee-quivering blow when sophomore defensive lineman Akheem Mesidor announced very abruptly that he was entering the transfer portal, after attending practices and workouts and film sessions. The fallout, from Neal Brown talking to reporters on Thursday, the day his assistant coaches are scheduled, and letting the cat out of the bag.
During the press conference, Brown’s voice wavered as he tries to convince everyone that he doesn’t have a culture problem but he is hurt by the transfer. The real emotion from the head coach stirred fans. It wasn’t normal and by showing the emotion, he proved to be human and affected by the current new normal of college athletics. That emotion stirred a poster on the EerSports.com message board to become frustrated and throw his support, and his wallet, behind the athletic programs. He challenged others to follow his lead and show the school they were still here and still willing to support the coaches.
The old proverb of a butterfly flaps its wings in the west and a hurricane forms in the east is the epitome of what happened this weekend. A small donation snowballed and gained momentum as people grabbed a hold of the small glimmer of faith and ran with it. Posters took the challenge and began to donate. Some donated small amounts, some donated larger amounts. As the momentum grew, a challenge was set. The posters wanted to hit $100,000 in donations by the end of the weekend. It was bold but the challenge was set.
Saturday afternoon, as momentum grew, news of the donation challenge hit Puskar center and those in charge were surprised to find out that West Virginia fans were giving and giving and giving. Neal Brown, who was scheduled to speak to the media on Saturuday to talk about the Mesidor transfer and answer questions from the media, made a point to acknowledge and thank the fans for their support. It has been reported by Mike Casazza that very important people inside Mountaineer Athletics noticed the wave of support.
By the time the weekend ended Sunday night, what once started as one person who was frustrated with the free one-time transfer, the NIL, West Virginia losing nearly every good player it develops and a head coach who just hasn’t been dealt a winning hand, ended with over $100,000 raised from a large number of fans who want to see West Virginia become what West Virginia once was.