WVU Donor Upset Over Bob Huggins Decision, Planning to Reallocate Money
The decision to retain Bob Huggins, even though it came with punishments, is one that has created a divide among West Virginia fans. But like it or not, every fan with an opinion is not of equal importance to the university and athletic department.
Most WVU fans passionately cheer for the Mountaineers. Others go to games and represent by wearing jerseys, shirts and hats throughout their daily lives. But there are a select group of fans who donate, and that group that some around college athletics even refer to at times as “boosters” matter, perhaps more than any other type of fan ever could.
Soon after the news about Huggins staying on was announced, longtime donor Jonathan Adkins reached out to WVSN’s Mike Asti to express his thoughts on the matter. Adkins, 49, who now resides in Washington, D.C., is not a WVU alum, although both of his parents and other members of his family are. Adkins is a West Virginia native, and that’s where his deep love for the Mountaineers began.
And about ten years ago as his career began to take off, Adkins, now the Chief Executive Officer for the Governors Highway Safety Association, started significantly donating to WVU athletics, most notably the football and men’s basketball programs. Those contributions to West Virginia basketball may now stop, at least as long as Huggins is still leading the charge as the face of the Mountaineers.
Adkins is Planning to Donate to School Instead of Sports
“It’s painful as a longtime supporter of WVU to see this situation. I’m directing my donations away from the Athletic Department toward other parts of the University,” Adkins told WVSN. This was clearly not an easy decision for Adkins to make, as he also expressed his continued support, but one he felt he had to make as a gay man.
He seems to mean what he’s saying too, claiming he’s contacted the school to make his feelings clear and plans known. “I’ve been in touch with WVU as a donor and a gay man. I’m disappointed in how they have handled this, but hope for the best,” said Adkins.
When Adkins was asked about his initial reaction to hearing the Hall of Fame coach, and fellow West Virginia native, he’s cheered for since he returned home to take over WVU in 2007, using an anti-gay slur, he responded with “shocked, disappointed and hurt” as the first words that came to mind.
Can Huggins Ever Win Over Adkins Again?
There are no guarantees, but it does sound like Huggins could get back in Adkins’ good graces.
He left that door open, even if ever-so-slightly. “Yes, people can change and grow. I hope he speaks out about what happened, shows true remorse and this serves as an opportunity to educate others,” Adkins offered as a best-case scenario moving forward.
WVU LGBTQ+ Center Hopes to Use Bob Huggins Situation to ‘Build Bridges’
No one can change the past and unhear what Huggins said, and the flippant manner in which he used a word that’s very hurtful to a group of people. All that can be done now is for Huggins, and society as a whole, to learn and grow from this situation. Unfortunately for Huggins, there’s also the possibility he will never be able to fully repair his legacy.
It’s not as if the foundation of WVU basketball will all of a sudden collapse without the financial contributions of any one donor. The Mountaineers brand is too big and there are too many wealthy alums all over the country willing to spend. Honestly, keeping Huggins around was likely done largely due to the nationally ranked incoming transfer class and in the best interest of the team on the court.
But it’s also very possible Adkins is not alone in planing to reallocate where his money goes when donated to the school. Adkins shows words can have consequences, especially when those words come out of the mouth of someone tasked with representing a state and a passionate fan base.