West Virginia Radio Corp. says it isn’t bidding on a 12-year contract for multimedia rights to some West Virginia University athletic events, but wants the previous winner — IMG College – disqualified in a re-bid process. WV Radio is also asking that Charleston-based West Virginia Media Holdings be not allowed to participate. WVU is rebidding the contract, because a review by the state AG’s office found “significant errors and sloppiness” in how a previous deal was formed, reported The Charleston Gazette.
Five companies, including IMG and West Virginia Radio Corp., participated in a pre-bid conference call last month that also included Nelligan Sports Marketing, Learfield Communications and FOX Run Group. Proposals were due 6/12. WVU plans to choose the best offer by 8/5 and announce the winner 8/ 23.
WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey concluded that two WVU Board of Governors members shouldn’t have participated in reviewing the original set of bids but found “no evidence of intentional wrongdoing.”
Athletic Director Oliver Luck improperly provided confidential details of the proposed contract with IMG College to board chairman Drew Payne before its public release. Morrisey said Payne’s subsequent comments about the financial terms of the deal were also improper.
WVU signed a tentative licensing agreement in January with IMG but later suspended talks after reports that Payne and board member David Alvarez had ties to a company angling to subcontract with IMG.
WVU’s broadcast rights are currently handled by the university-operated Mountaineer Sports Network. It works closely with West Virginia Radio Corp., owned by Morgantown, WV businessman John Raese.
Raese’s attorney told the paper that the 15-page protest filed 6/12 is the second in two months. It claims allowing participation in the bidding by either IMG or West Virginia Media Holdings — a company Payne had a financial interest in — effectively “turns a blind eye to the confirmed breaches of public trust and confidence.”