Coach Dana Holgorsen confirmed West Virginia will play the Pinstripe Bowl without senior center Joe Madsen, who is academically ineligible.

“It’s disappointing that he didn’t take care of business,” Holgorsen said. “The expectation for our guys is to go to class, to get good grades, and leave West Virginia with a good quality education and a degree. Joey fell short of that, and we’re disappointed that he did.”

Quarterback Geno Smith said he talked with Madsen after the team learned last week the center would not be making the trip to New York.

“Joey is Joey. He understands that he let the team down,” Smith said. “He’s also let himself down and his family down, so that’s enough for me. I don’t want to get on the guy.”

While Holgorsen declined to say who would replace Madsen, Smith spoke openly about guard Jeff Braun transitioning to center — and making crucial presnap blocking calls against Syracuse’s erratic blitz schemes.

“I just think it’s about me making sure that Braun is ready and he’s set,” Smith said. “That shouldn’t be a problem because Braun’s a veteran and he’s played the position.”

Braun’s shift to center likely would open up playing time for Pat Eger at right guard. WVU’s other option is to leave Braun at guard and leave the center position to Madsen’s depth-chart backup, senior John Bassler.

Madsen, the team’s active leader with 50 career starts, was one of nine Mountaineers who graduated Dec. 9, according to the WVU sports information department.

In 2010 Madsen was among three West Virginia players ruled ineligible for the Champs Sports Bowl.

The Mountaineers (7-5) face Syracuse (7-5) on Saturday at 3:15 p.m.

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  • jake_d

    Besides Geno, Tavon and Stedman, losing our starting center is probably worst thing that could've happened (regarding losing players) before we square off against Sorrycuse. Their blitzes are complex and well-hidden and it might not matter that Geno is well versed and studied up on it if the guy calling the blocking schemes at the line is not on the same page. Sux for Madsen and sux for the team. BUT maybe the line will work thru it. Let's Go!

  • John

    At WVU for December graduation you walk and get a blank diploma. The next week is actually finals but they can't do graduations the week of Christmas. They mail you your actual diploma pending grades after finals.

  • Jordan

    Here's a thought I'm pretty sure he is a fifth year senior so he probably need one maybe two classes tops to obtain his degree, but the NCAA requires a student to be full time. He most likely filled the rest of his schedule with dumb electives that did not count towards the degree and not care about them. in turn leads him to failing them and plumits the grade point average making him indelible but graduating at the same time.

  • John Maddox


  • Butthead

    Uh, huh, huh, huh, huh,

    Hey, Beavis,

    DubV gave me a degree but I'm academically eligible.........huh, huh, huh, huh


  • brian

    academically ineligible? Already graduated Dec. 9? Please explain that one.

    • wvnation

      It takes a 2.5 to play NCAA sports and a 2.0 to graduate.

  • loyd

    I guess when Holgerson wasn't paying attention to the defense this year, he also wasn't paying attention to academics!!

  • chad

    To answer your question unclec, i would say it's ultimately Madsen's job to make sure this doesn't happen

  • chad

    Guys you're talking about the NCAA here, so If it's possible to graduate and still be considered academically ineligible i wouldn't be suprised. These are the same bunch of clowns who think the best way to decide a champion is to have sports writers vote for 2 teams then have them play a game almost 2 months after the vote.

  • John weaver

    He already graduated? If so I am confused as well. That would be a new one, academically eligible to already graduate but ineligible to play because you are academically ineligible?

  • Larry

    Uh Oh!!!
    With the news of Joe Madsen being out...Let me revise my prediction...

    Syracuse 52 WVU 28

  • S

    How can you graduate (Dec. 9) and still be academically ineligible?

  • John weaver

    I am with you unclec, but mostly I feel sorry for joe madson to come this far and not graduate.

  • unclec

    Who's job is it to make sure this does not happen again. Seem like this happens every year.I know it would be hard to play ball and study BUT this there part of the deal. Play ball get an education mostly FREE. Should be don't pass pay back scholarship or don't pass can't go pro.

    • Mike

      How about the Players make sure they do what is required.These young men don't need baby sitters.If you cant make the grades now life will be tough when they get in the real world.

  • poca guy

    How can you be academically eligible to graduate but not academically eligible to play football?

    • GRAD U ATE

      He was on the Heather Bresch track.