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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Comments

  • Mister

    JR, it will be re-bid and you will not get it. You are isolating some of your supporters.

  • Adam

    Allan, why don't you suggest to your boss that he improve his bid instead of stripping you of any remaining shred of journalistic integrity. However, If you find success in influencing an outcome through news reporting, Huggins and Holgorsen might hire you to write pre-game stories.

    • Allan Taylor

      Adam, just covering a legal matter as it plays out, not trying to influence anyone. Would you prefer this website and all the media around WV ignore events surrounding a $110 million contract?

      • Greg

        If it involves all the nonsense you write, then "Yeh!".

      • Big John

        It appears to me that the reason is simple-WVRC wants to have the pie without paying for the pie, as this would give them another free ride in 2013. Does JR want to sell out his business?

      • wv4evah

        excellent response allan, but you might as well save your energy. you'll never be able to convince the yahoos on this site of your proven integrity.

      • Mountie in Richmond

        Allan, the "sweet-heart" deal that Mr. Raese's media companies had before this process started is also part of the story. It is tangible evidence of his motivation in this matter. Ignoring that part of the story means that you're only reporting part of the story.

  • cutty77

    The BS will continue untill they are ask to leave the Building.WVRC will continue this back ground noise.. I would cut all Ties with WVRC right now,be done with them.If had anything to do with it,they would need a ticket to get in to use the bathroom. Their Done. This is Custer's Last Stand. LOL

    • chris

      give hugs and holgs another beer!

      • big tom

        huggs has had enough , time to start recruiting recruits with character and coach them up for a change

    • Luke

      Did you graduate from any school?

  • Bob Melphis

    Hey Allan,

    More BS from you and your boss!

    • Allan Taylor

      Keep shooting the messenger, Bob. Just covering the events as they play out.

  • Habib Haddad

    (Disclosure: WVRC is the parent company of MetroNews.)
    Isn't this sentence an example of what is known as "burying the lead?"

  • jfk

    who cares

  • big tom

    can't we do anything without screwing it up the first time

  • Mike

    Please Raese give it up, what a sore loser!

  • cutty77

    Its hard to embrass Idiot.

  • B Lynn

    Get over it JR. At the end of anything they are going to rebid. Don't tell me you haven't been hooked up for years by the previous athletic heads...

  • Greg

    Why am I not surprised by this? The owner of this website never had any intentions of being a man of his word and not rebidding. How can anyone (Allan Taylor and Mickey Furfari) come out in print and support this piece of .....? JR is everything that's wrong with this country.

    • Rick

      West Virginia University, a public entity, violated the rules for bidding out the third tier rights (and apparently rigged the process to improperly, and in all likelihood illegally, award the contract to an inside interest). This may be how things are done in the private sector, but it is not proper in the public sector.

      Instead of saying John Raese is everything that is wrong with this country, I think we ought to be applauding him for calling out the improprieties that occurred. I think we need more people standing up and watching over government and calling out when things are continually done improperly. Perhaps then we would not have the rampant corruption that is going on throughout American government at all levels.

      I find it ironic that many of the same people who decry corporate greed are turning a blind eye when WVU blatantly broke the rules for its own form of corporate greed. Oh wait, in most instances corporate greed benefits someone else; whereas in this case it might stand to benefit Mountaineer fans turning their blind eyes because of the prospects of WVU getting more money to buy better football and basketball players.

      Breaking the rules is breaking the rules. If it is bad when somebody else benefits from it, then it is also bad when you stand to benefit from it.

      WVU has procurement rules in place. And WVU needs to follow the rules -- that's all. We the taxpayers deserve that. It is really that simple.

      • Luke

        I agree. How hard is it to conduct a hearing on the WVRC protest and comply with the procurement rules?

        This continues to be a sham process. I am surprised that there are so many at WVU willing to go along.

        Kudos to Parsons and Szul for not going along with the crowd.

      • takemetoemstar

        wow, well said!

      • Michael Walker

        Your argument is very intelligent, articulate and well presented. However, the AG made it clear that WVU didn't have to take bids at all. They aren't buying anything.

        I'll give John Raese the benefit of exercising his right for his initial complaint. But now he is simply being a jerk with a personal vendetta against Mr. Luck and WVU.

        IMG wasn't shown to have done anything even technically wrong. Why would they be excluded when they offer the best deal? It's time for this nonsense to end.

      • Mountie in Richmond

        Rick, did Frank Simmerman write all of that for you, or did you add some to it?

      • Bill

        Rick,
        I have to assume that you voted for Raese.
        Nothing else could explain your blind loyalty.
        Raese simply doesn;t want to lose the cash cow sweetheart deal he had .

  • Alum

    Feeling jilted John?

  • JS

    In fact, I am writing a letter tonight to WVU requesting that ALL advertising be removed from the above mentioned WVRC media outlets. I urge everyone that is fed up with JR's shenanigans to do the same.

  • JS

    Here we go again!!! JR and WVRC out on another witch hunt. Just take you toys and go home already!!! I hope and pray that WVU removes ALL advertising from the Dominion Post, Metronews, and WVRC stations.

    • WILLIAM

      There is a new SHERIFF in town. JR won't take any BS from MONEY MAN LUCK!

    • Cooter

      Mr. Burns and Smithers (John and the Hop-ster) are bound to complain forever about this.

      They really do look like Mr. Burns and Smithers.

  • Chef Camille

    Gee RAESE is complaining about not playing fair. He has pulled so many strings at WVU he was the puppet master. I would fire Luck, Huggins, Rodriguez, and that Mountaineer that was a girl.

    • WILLIAM

      Who is in charge(THE BOSS)?
      Oliver Luck from WVU or JR from WVRC.