Blog Entry

Report: Saban tried to get WVU SEC invitation

Posted on: February 10, 2012 5:16 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 5:18 pm

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

As of this moment, there is -- almost without question -- no more powerful coach in all of college football than Alabama's Nick Saban. But as it turns out, even Saban couldn't pull enough strings to get someone other than Missouri the coveted 14th invite to the SEC.

That's according to the account provided to the Charleston Daily Mail by West Virginia senator Joe Manchin, West Virginia University graduate, who said he and Saban had spoken and "were working toward" snagging that invitation for the Mountaineers before the league settled on the Tigers. Both Saban and his wife Terry are West Virginia natives, and Saban spent two seasons in the late '70s as a defensive assistant for the Mountaineers.

"I thought we could have been in the SEC," Manchin said. "I talked to my dear friend Nick Saban about that, and, like me, he said, 'I would like West Virginia in the SEC,' and we were working toward that."

The Charleston Gazette also reported in October that Saban had been lobbying behind the scenes for West Virginia. But to no avail: Missouri was officially added as the SEC's 14th team in early November.

"They chose Missouri instead, and then you never heard a thing else about it," Manchin said.

That decision helped lead to a bitter political struggle between Manchin and Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell. McConnell, a Louisville graduate and Republican, reportedly attempted to block the Mountaineers' bid to join the Big 12 with the hopes of getting the Cardinals the invitation instead; Manchin, a Democrat, responded by publicly calling for Congress to hold hearings on whether McConnell had committed an ethics violation.

In the end, of course, Manchin and the Mountaineers got their happy ending -- they're not even going to have to wait an extra year -- and Manchin says the feud with McConnell is in the past. But with as powerful an ally as Saban on his side, you have to wonder if he doesn't wonder what might have been if the SEC had lent a more friendly ear.

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Since: Mar 17, 2008
Posted on: February 10, 2012 6:22 pm

Report: Saban tried to get WVU SEC invitation

This is actually not a reply to your comment, but Nick Saban is a liar, the SEC never wanted WV in their conference, they might stop the LSU, Alabama, Florida connection to the National Championship. Nick Saban is a liar.

Since: Aug 13, 2011
Posted on: February 10, 2012 5:41 pm

Report: Saban tried to get WVU SEC invitation

I, personally, am glad that the SEC did not lend a friendlier ear. Missouri wanted out of the Big 12 and the Big 12 desparately needed a 10th member and West Virginia provided that member. As a Big 12 fan I am thrilled to add the Mountaineers and am very grateful for their addition. Which two are next to receive an invitation? You know the Big 12 will not leave West Virginia dangling without regional competition.

Since: Dec 17, 2008
Posted on: February 10, 2012 5:26 pm

Report: Saban tried to get WVU SEC invitation

Manchin is a media whore.  Somehow he happens to be "dear" friends with everyone who happens to be from WV.

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