MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia Radio Corp. restated its request for a hearing with WVU athletics director Oliver Luck and Board of Governors chairman Drew Payne, two figures whose inappropriate communications led the school to re-bid its third-tier media rights package this week.

MetroNews file photo

WVU removed AD Oliver Luck from the evaluation team for its re-bid of third-tier multimedia rights.

In a letter to WVU senior associate vice president of finance Daniel Durbin, WVRC’s counsel also requested Brenda Mowen, the university’s chief procurement officer, be present for the hearing. Mowen is heading up the second round of bidding after WVU removed Luck and his previous evaluation committee from the decision-making.

On Tuesday, the day WVU re-issued its request for tier-3 proposals, Mowen officially denied WVRC’s initial protest without benefit of a hearing. WVRC claims that was a breach of WVU’s own procurement rule 7.2.4, which states the chief procurement officer shall issue a protest decision only after scheduling and conducting the protestor’s hearing.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey was copied on WVRC’s appeal. It was Morrisey’s office on April 15 that suggested a re-bid after citing “significant errors and sloppiness” on the part of the athletics department. Morrissey noted that Luck improperly shared confidential bid information with Payne, who also sits on the board at West Virginia Media, which happened to be partnering with IMG College, the initial bid-winner.

WVRC owner John Raese initially asked for Morrisey’s assistance in examining the bidding irregularities. (Disclosure: WVRC is the parent company of MetroNews.)

The attorney general, whose subsequent involvement was working on behalf of WVU, also noted an appearance of impropriety involving Luck’s midstream decision to add three hand-picked members to his evaluation committee. All three of them voted with Luck in favor of IMG College’s bid, while two original members — deputy director of athletics Mike Parsons and associate athletic director of business operations Mike Szul — were not afforded what Morrissey called a “timely opportunity to formally vote” and wound up not voting at all.

WVRC’s protest requested IMG and West Virginia Media be barred “from participating in any manner” with the multimedia rights proposal. It also asserted that WVU should reinstate Parsons and Szul, neither of whom was cited for missteps, and pair them with a third member to evaluate only the remaining “innocent bidders” from the first RFP cycle.

Clarksburg attorney Frank Simmerman, counsel for WVRC, stated in the company’s protest that:
♦ Allowing IMG and WV Media to participate in the rebidding of multimedia rights “constitutes turning a blind eye to confirmed breaches of public trust and confidence.”
♦ “IMG and WV Media have a tarnished record which cannot simply be cast aside or otherwise shielded by a re-bid.”
♦ “Five innocent bidders spent substantial time and money initially participating” in the third-tier proposal process.

Third-tier rights involve any TV broadcasts of football games that are not picked up by a major network, several non-conference basketball games, as well as radio broadcasts, coaches’ shows, stadium sponsorships and online content.

The re-bid launched Tuesday by Mowen and WVU involves a 92-page proposal, far more detailed than the original and apparently reflecting plans the school made with IMG College before irregularities came to light and the negotiations were stalled. The revised RFP calls for bids to be returned by June 18, followed by bidder presentations June 28 and notification of a winner by Aug. 23.

That notification date comes only eight days before the Mountaineers’ football season opener, though the winner could be alerted as early as mid-June if IMG turns out to be the lone bidder this time.

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  • Jimbob

    WVU should explore the possibility of during JR, for list revenue. He fast Eddie and the rest of the good ole boy network, for all of the radio broadcasts he has being doing for free all theses years. I believe I read some where the radio rights alone were worth a million dollars or so a year. That would be a nice pay day for the university. JR is after one thing and one thing only personal gain. There is no part of all of this crying that has anything to do with integrity or what's right.

  • Scott

    How could WVU break any rules when they did not even have to bid this contract out. The attourney general even stated that WVU did not have to bid this contract out by law. John Raese is just mad because he used to be a member of the "good ole boy network" that was in place in Morgantown, and now he is not. He needs to either submit a good, quality bid or shut up. There is a reason WVU probably favors IMG and that is because they are obviously the most qualified firm to do this type of work. There is a reson why IMG has the third tier rights for almost all of the 120 FBS programs in the country. They know what they are doing.


    What legal matter? The AG found no crime. He found no wrong doing. The bid process isn't even necessary in this situation. You all keep implying that sloppiness and errors should be prosecuted as felonies. Journalists are REQUIRED to tell the truth and not FABRICATE any news. I think Oliver Luck has made some horrible decisions and Holgerson's record with a team so talented they were predicted by many to win it all speaks for itself. I am not a fan of the direction WVU sports is taking but it is dishonest to imply that this third-tier bid stuff is on a par with what are true scandals with Benghazi, the IRS and the attack on the free press.

  • Lee

    Im not an expert in anything concerning third tier rights at WVU...

    But JR did say if the process was to be rebid his company WVRC would not submit a bid..

    Is he a man of his word?

  • tw eagle

    yes , you can deep six my comments .. .especially since they will never agree with anything raese says or does . . .raese problem now is that AD Luck doesn't need raeses money . . .raese will just have to work to get another AD who he can put in his 'pocket' . . .I doubt there are many people in the WVU athletic department that aren't 'owned ' or owe some allegiance to raese . . .SO , you keep burying and i'll keep writing . . .

  • Unconvinced

    Allan --

    If IMG is thrown out, why shouldn't WVradio be thrown out too?

    There is obvious ties between the athletic dept. and WVradio, that is why WVradio wants Parsons and Szul reinstated to the committee. How can one not be sure that Payne wasn't trying to "even the playing field?"

    Allan as a respected journalist maybe you should do the right thing and write about ALL the ties in this RFP deal. OR how about a article about how Raese is just delaying everything so that WVradio doesn't bid but a investment group of his own will...

    Talk about a sore loser....

    • Big John

      Allan- How about an investigative report on JR and WVRC dealings with WVU I am sure JR would approve unless he has something to hide in his relationship with Parsons and Suzi and if so as a journalidt you have the duty and responsibility to uncover the truth. If so a better job will probally be in your future if not you will go down with the ship.

  • Big John

    Metro News has done an excellent job on WVU Sports up to now. They are destroying all their good work by their constant bickering with WVU.Why should a company get a another year of a free ride giving WVU no income-this makes no sense to anyone. Don't you feel it is odd that JR wants a majority of 3 people to do the bids when he knows how 2 of them would vote? Maybe WVU needs to look into those who supported JR in the past.

    • Guardian

      WVRC pays WVU for the broadcast rights. Where do you get off thinking they don't? It is not a free ticket for WVRC.

      • Big John

        How much do they pay? Northside ptobally pays mote in advertising fees than WVRC pays WVU. Do you feel it is appropriate to have JR decide to appoint two people he knows will vote for his proposal. Since JR stated he would not be interested in bidding then why should his complaint be heard> Come on JR open your checkbook so the great programs you started can continue.

        • Guardian

          Sir, why doesn't anyone ask the AD or the university president that question? They pay and have for years. But it would seem with all the noise on this subject, some journalist would have done just that.

          Could it be that the answer would cause some discomfort to those seeking change?

  • Scott

    WV Radio corp just wants to tie this up and get another year out of the WVU deal. They need to get over it and move on. No one wants to see WV Radio continue their steak dinner deal another second.

  • Gr8wvfan

    IMG is the best for the state of WV because it is at the top of its field. I vote to keep WVRC on as affiliate subcontractors as they are the best at the local level, and let Bray handle the in-state TV shows as subcontractor. It would be a great alliance for West Virginia.

    • Scott

      I'd rather see IMG just do it all themselves. WVRC's broadcasts are tired and WV Media can't handle it.

  • Doug M

    JR is nothing short of a complete idiot. He is the Republicans only candidate in WV for Senate and he failed each time miserably. He doesn't even live here. Go back to Florida. WVU means nothing to you.

    • Guardian

      "WVU means nothing to you." Really? His degree is from WVU. He played baseball at WVU. His dad coached the only possible "national title" in basketball at WVU. His brother also graduated from WVU.

      Doug M, shouldn't you do just a little homework before you post?


      JR earned it the old fashion way - HE INHERITED THE MONEY!

      • Guardian

        And then took what he inherited, grew his businesses, added employment, and has given back to the community . . . and WVU. Unlike certain other donors, JR actually demands that his donations be kept quiet.

        • Big John

          As small as they are if you had his money you would want them to keep it secret also. My guess is less than $ 5995.00

          • Guardian

            Sir, "guess" is the operative word in your post. Many upgrades around the Evansdale athletic areas had contributions from JR - including the basketball facility and some of the last upgrades done to Hawley Field. You really should do some asking around before you make assumptions. JR has also make contributions on the academic side at WVU.

      • Shadow

        It beats the devil out of trying to earn it. Next time around I am going to pick richer parents. At least he hasn't thrown it away.

      • WVU 74

        A few of us have. Its called a fortunate "accident at birth."

  • JImJim

    They better get the deal done soon, with both basketball & football programs declining the money will not be there long.

  • Shadow

    I guess when you have a extreme bias, the truth hurts. The article was clearly written and was very understandable. I give Allen an A+.

    Cheating is cheating even when the AD does it. The procurement rules are to be followed. I don't know JR but he deserves his day in court, just like all of us when we are wronged or think we are wronged. Fairness is the issue.

  • Guardian

    JR can be a hard person to like in his public persona - I get that, I do.

    But take JR out of the equation for just a minute. There is no disputing the facts:

    * The AD lead-piped the voting committee - even making last minute appointments to the committee after presentations were done and bids submitted
    * There was a clear conflict with WVMC's president Mr. BC and being a former debtor to the WVU Foundation
    * When WVMC teamed with IMG and BOG Chairman Mr. DP was a shareholder in WVMC another clear conflict
    * There was clear breach of confidentiality when our AD told Mr. DP about alleged financial gains from IMG
    * There was a second breach of confidentiality when Mr. DP told a Charleston newspaper about the information shared with him by the AD

    In the business world, when these sorts of improprieties are exposed during a RFP, the offending party is disqualified and the winner is picked from the other bidders. Or if there is a rebid, then the offending party is disqualified from the rebid. This is just standard procedure.

    The Attorney General of West Virginia confirmed the abovementioned improprieties, so these facts are not in doubt.

    So, where is JR wrong in asking for a hearing? In reality, the winner should be picked from among the original bidders who had no improprieties reported against them.

  • JS

    I really don't think Allan understands that he is being used as a pawn by JR. I think it is a consensus thus far that because JR writes a letter or requests a hearing does not make it news.

  • big tom

    i have to admit, i liked JR until this situation, now he needs to shut up and move back into the shadows...

    • Greg

      Bet you voted for him didn't you? Would you again if you did?