Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

April 15, 2013

WVU must rebid athletics media contract

CHARLESTON — West Virginia University said Monday it will rebid a contract for multimedia rights to certain athletic events following a review by the state attorney general's office that found "significant errors and sloppiness" in how the deal was crafted.

The university announced the decision shortly after Attorney General Patrick Morrisey released his staff's findings and recommended that the contract be rebid.

WVU Board of Governors Chairman Andrew Payne and board member David Alvarez should have recused themselves from participating in bid reviews for the contract, Morrisey said. But Morrisey, who has been investigating allegations of impropriety since last month, said at a news conference in Charleston that he found "no evidence of intentional wrongdoing."

Athletic Director Oliver Luck, a member of WVU's evaluation committee, provided confidential details of the proposed contract with IMG College to Payne before its public release, Morrisey said, and Payne's subsequent statements to media outlets about the financial terms were inappropriate.

Among other findings, Morrisey said two of the six evaluation committee members didn't vote on the proposal in early December and weren't given enough time before a letter was sent to IMG the next day.

WVU signed a tentative licensing agreement in January with Winston-Salem, N.C.-based IMG College. The university later suspended talks after reports that Payne and Alvarez had ties to a company angling to subcontract with IMG.

The school had said that the board played no role in contract talks.

Morrisey said he briefed WVU President Jim Clements on his findings Sunday.

"It is clear from this report that mistakes were made in the procurement process," Clements said in a statement, "and we will take proactive steps to fix them. Starting over is simply the right thing to do."

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