Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver addressed several issues during our interview Tuesday, the most topical of which – Sugar Bowl ticket sales and this season’s non-conference football schedule -- are detailed in Wednesday’s print column.
Here are his views on other subjects we discussed over the course of 30-plus minutes:
Hokies had any chance of a BCS at-large bid to the Sugar Bowl after their 38-10 loss to Clemson in the ACC championship game Saturday before last. Like everyone else, he figured Tech was headed to the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.
But come Sunday morning, Weaver, coach Frank Beamer, ACC commissioner John Swofford and Sugar Bowl head honcho Paul Hoolahan began talking.
“When I left the stadium, I thought we were going to Atlanta,” Weaver said. “Sunday is the time you do all your calls. The commissioner and I talked, and I talked to Paul Hoolahan, and I talked to Frank, and Frank talked to Paul Hoolahan.
“We just gave it our best shot, and lo and behold, it happened. You state your case.”
* Weaver detailed how Syracuse dropped games against Tech in 2010 and ’11.
Upon hiring coach Doug Marone in late 2008 to rebuild a declining program, the Orange asked out of its contract with the Hokies. Around the same time, ESPN proposed to Tech a made-for-TV game against Boise State in 2010 at the Washington Redskins’ stadium.
“It’s hard to get any games, let alone quality games, when you’re so late,” Weaver said. “I told (ESPN), ‘I’m not signing the contract to play Boise until I can get a replacement (for Syracuse in 2011).’ … Arkansas State was the only I-A team we could get. It just so happens they win their league (the Sun Belt) and they go to a bowl game.”
Weaver noted the irony of ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit bashing Tech’s non-conference schedule this season.
“What happens is, ESPN wants you to play these made-for-television games,” he said, “and then you get screwed up in your scheduling and then they criticize you on TV.”
Weaver joked that the hassles could prompt him to cede scheduling responsibilities to Tech’s associate AD for football, John Ballein.
“I’m going to get out of the scheduling business and give it all to Ballein,” he said.
* For the first time, Weaver publicly commented on the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal at Penn State.
Weaver and Sandusky, Weaver younger by a year, were football teammates at Penn State during the 1960s. They traveled with other football players during a summer barnstorming basketball tour of Pennsylvania and later joined Joe Paterno’s coaching staff within six months of one another.
“I haven’t talked to anybody up there,” Weaver said. “My heart is broken, though. My heart aches for Joe. … I don’t know all the facts or anything.
“I never knew anything like that about (Sandusky). … Totally caught by surprise. I read bits and pieces. Supposedly there’s a kid in a basement bedroom and the kid is yelling for help and Jerry’s wife doesn’t respond. I mean, it makes me want to be sick.”
* Weaver said his wife, Traci, picked him up outside his office for an appointment Thursday about a half-hour before and 200 yards away from where a Radford student gunned down Virginia Tech police officer Deriek Crouse.
“I’ve always believed that you never get dealt a hand of cards that you’re not strong enough to play,” Weaver said, “but I think we’re getting worn out on tragedies.”
Teel Time: Hokies' AD Weaver discusses his health, Penn State scandal and VT's at-large BCS bid
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