The ACC, Big XII and Pac-10 already eliminated Prop 48 players. That could have led to major WVU advantages in Virginia and Maryland, two recruiting hotbeds, because both UVA and Virginia Tech, now in the ACC, could not have taken Prop 48 players. The same held true for Maryland. Now West Virginia has none of those advantages at a time when the Big East needs as much help on the football side as possible.
"I don't know who brought it forth," Rodriguez said. "We were one of the three not to vote for it. I think it was people sitting up on their Ivory Tower thinking that they were going to take an academic stand. People did not understand what a non-qualifer is. But what do I know? I have only been recruiting 21 years."
If the bluntness of the statement surprises, consider that Rodriguez played at West Virginia in the early 1980s with many players who would have been Prop 48s, had the rule been in affect at the time.
"I know this, I was fortunate enough to get the test scores when I came here," he said. "But it did not matter then. There was no minimum. We had a lot of guys that would not have been at West Virginia – or anywhere else, for that matter. But all those guys are now successful people. Businessmen, teachers, administrators. I don't know what they would have done otherwise. They might have been working for the City of Morgantown, maybe, doing something else."
From last year's team alone, wideouts Brandon Myles and Darius Reynaud were non-qualifers. Add in bandit Eric Wicks, who sparked WVU by picking off a key pass against Syracuse, utility defensive back Thandi Smith, who recovered the onside kick fumble the led to the rally against Louisville and also blocked a punt against Rutgers, and Tyler Benoit and Florida transfer Johnny Dingle, and there are major contributors, both now and in the future, that would not have been able to play.
"Brandon Myles is a great story," Rodriguez said. "But he would no longer be allowed to come to WVU. Whatever he is going to do in the future with his degree, well, that might not have happened."
Receiver Brandon Barrett was a highly-recruited non-qualifer out of Martinsburg High. The sophomore was a Kennedy Award winner as the state's best player and has worked his way into the lineup at wideout and on special teams. Were he to graduate this year, WVU would not be able to recruit him, and Barrett would likely end up at his second choice, Ohio State.
"I understand you have to have indicators," Rodriguez said. "I am more of a GPA indicator. If you have a low GPA, it might be because you are lazy. If you do not score well on tests, it might be because you just don't test well. The test thing is out of whack. I am going off on a tangent here, but somewhere the SAT had thousands of scores they had to invalidate. Thousands of scores, screwed-up.
"If you get accepted by West Virginia, you have pretty good grades. If you do not have success here, you are probably too lazy. There are people who do not belong in college, sure. But it is usually because they are too lazy. They don't belong, then, until they give effort and change their work ethic."
The other problem, according to Rodriguez, is that the presidents voted for more stringent academics, yet allow the Big East to play more night games on weekdays, forcing players to miss class. The administrators, he said, seem to be talking out of both sides of their mouth.
"I admit that there are some guys that are not ready," Rodriguez said. "Some guys do not make test scores or grades. That's an indicator that he needs to go to a junior college or something else. But I am talking about the guys that might miss it by 10 test points. To deny eligibility because of that? You are not giving the kid a chance. There should be a limit, like maybe three or four. But not none."