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WVU president Gee’s summer tour reaches Kanawha County

ST. ALBANS, W.Va. — WVU president Gordon Gee’s statewide tour stopped in Kanawha County on Tuesday night with a visit to Grumpy’s Waterfront Grille.

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” Gee said of his trip. “I always say when I start off these summer tours I’m exhausted before I start because there’s so many things to do. But in the end it’s an exhilarating experience.

Gee, who was in Welch on Tuesday before traveling north, said he was excited by WVU opening a Beckley campus.

With the Big 12 being left out of the College Football Playoff last season despite worthy campaigns by TCU and Baylor, the topic of expanding the league has surfaced. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby acknowledged at the league’s media day that there was dissension among conference presidents about whether to expand.

“I’ve been part of expansion in the Big Ten twice with Penn State and then with Nebraska, Rutgers and Maryland,” he said. “They do have unintended consequences. We have a great league from top to bottom. I do believe the Big 12 is as competitive as any league in the country.”

Expanding to 12 teams would allow the conference to split once more into two divisions—as it was before the departures of Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri and Texas A&M—and play a championship game. But NCAA deregulation may soon remove the 12-team minimum for a title game, and Gee cautioned against a knee-jerk reaction based on one playoff season.

“If Ohio State, my other team, had not won, we could have had two teams in the final four, TCU and Baylor,” he said. “You just don’t know—each year is a different ballgame.”

He added that the Big 12 is now unique in that every team plays each other in football, something a 12 or more team conference doesn’t allow for.

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