Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

May 14, 2013

New bids for WVU media rights deal are due soon

MORGANTOWN — Bidders for multimedia rights to certain West Virginia University athletic events will have until June 18 to respond to a newly issued request for proposals, the school announced Tuesday.

WVU said last month it would rebid the contract after a review by the state attorney general’s office found “significant errors and sloppiness” in how a previous deal was crafted.

Two WVU Board of Governors members shouldn’t have participated in reviewing the bids, but Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he found “no evidence of intentional wrongdoing.”

Athletic Director Oliver Luck improperly provided confidential details of the proposed contract with North Carolina-based IMG College to board chairman Drew Payne before its public release.

Morrisey said Payne’s subsequent comments to the media about the financial terms of the deal were also improper.

WVU said this bidding process includes a new evaluation committee, a new procurement liaison, an external legal adviser from the Attorney General’s office and an updated proposal. It will be led by Chief Procurement Officer Brenda Mowen.

All bids will be sealed and will remain confidential, along with all discussion of the solicitation.

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.

Morgantown businessman John Raese, whose company bid on the contract, had accused WVU of violating contracting rules and sought to have the agreement bid again.  

The Big 12 Conference owns the media rights to WVU’s regionally and nationally broadcast basketball and football games.  

WVU’s negotiations involved televising games that are not included with the conference and NCAA contracts.

It also would have given IMG College the rights to manage and market publishing related to WVU sports, as well as radio game play-by-play and coaches’ shows.  

WVU’s broadcast rights are currently handled by the university-operated Mountaineer Sports Network.

The network works closely with the Raese-owned West Virginia Radio Corp.


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