Morgantown, West Virginia – West Virginia has been too devastated on the transfer portal in Neal Brown’s three seasons with the Mountaineers.
Over the past three seasons, West Virginia has lost 42 players to the transfer portal and gained 10 players. Whichever way you look at it, it’s shocking.
While an argument can be made that some of these players weren’t starters who didn’t do big at their new school, it’s important to remember that depth is very important to a soccer program.
In addition, the Mountaineers have now lost 8 starters – Winston Wright, Jarret Doege, Jackie Matthews, Sean Ryan, Isaiah Esdale, Daryl Porter, Josh Chandler-Semedo and Nicktroy Fortune – since last season.
However, the quality of the players should not be questioned anymore. These are players who were recruited to attend West Virginia University and play for the Mountaineers, but in the end it’s the quantity, not the quality of the players that matters.
While red-shirt senior offensive midfielder James Gmiter explained that “We’re going to win with the people who want to be here” laudable and inspiring, replacing eight starters and a few key reserves would be too challenging (impossible?) for West Virginia.
Director of Athletics Shane Lyons and Head Coach Neal Brown just raised their hands and explained that “it happens everywhere” is dishonest and unfair. While the transfer portal has changed every team in the country, it hasn’t had the tremendous negative impact it has had on West Virginia, and it’s important that both Brown and Lyons acknowledge that there is a problem and discuss why it happened.
What is NIL? Is that Morgantown? Is that the culture of the football program? Is it the weather? What’s that?
Silence and lack of answers are commensurate with refusal, and denying that there is a problem is unacceptable. West Virginia presided over the Big 12 Conference and was one of the nation’s leaders in transfers, and this happened during times of “stability,” not during coaching changes or transitions.
Neal Brown has had three full seasons, which is an eternity in collegiate athletics, and there has been no improvement on or off the field. The reasons for Brown’s failure are old and exhausting. We deserve honest and real answers to the tough questions every West Virginia fan has for Neal Brown and Shane Lyons.