MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Judge Thomas Evans, after denying numerous motions to dismiss a lawsuit filed against WVU officials by West Virginia Radio Corp., is considering the radio company’s request for an injunction on the third-tier multimedia rights contract between the school and IMG College.

The hearing recessed for lunch and was scheduled to reconvene Monday afternoon.

WVRC, which has carried Mountaineers sports broadcasts for some seven decades, wants Evans to stop WVU from implementing a 12-year contract with IMG College worth $86.5 million. The network claims that contract, signed in June, was achieved through fraudulent bidding.

WVU’s attorneys are arguing that an injunction at this point—five days before the football season opener—would leave the school without a media rights partner and would cause undo harm to IMG and new radio affiliates who within the past month agreed to broadcast this season’s games.

Evans denied motions to dismiss from 10 defendants named in the civil suit—including WVU president Jim Clements, athletics director Oliver Luck, the WVU Board of Governors, board chairman Drew Payne, board member Dave Alvarez, and West Virginia Media Holdings president Bray Cary.

WVRC’s suit charges Luck with “improperly, incompetently, and unlawfully managing the media rights RFP process.” WVRC claims the university subsequently tailored the second media rights bidding “to render WV Media’s partner, IMG College, the only qualified bidder, thereby transforming the RFP process into a sham.”

Luck was barred from overseeing the second round of third-tier rights bidding after West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey confirmed Luck shared confidential information with Payne, a stakeholder in WV Media. Morrisey’s report also questioned Luck’s autonomous decision last October to add three members to the evaluation team when the other original panelists—deputy athletics director Mike Parsons and associate AD for business operations Mike Szul—didn’t give immediate approval to the IMG College/West Virginia Media bid.

Evans, the Jackson County circuit judge, replaced Monongalia County Circuit Judge Phillip Gaujot on the case. WVRC asked that Gaujot be disqualified based on a 26-year-old disagreement the judge had with Greer Industries attorney Robert Gwynne. (Greer is the parent company of WVRC, which also operates MetroNews.) State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Benjamin subsequently replaced Gaujot with Evans.

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Comments

  • Lo boy

    Allan,

    If an injunction is awarded, who will broadcast Saturdays game?

  • cutty77

    Wait a minute, if i was JR lets call off the football game untill next week. You wonder why people make fun of WV people. Were next to last in everything. lol

  • Bob Melphis

    Your right Allan. I'm tired of the obnoxious, entitled wealthy who when they don't get their way buy whomever and spend whatever necessary to obtain a favorable verdict.

  • ron "from morgantown"

    What about the ruling from the attorney general that Wvu didn't even need to bid the 3rd tier rights because they were "selling something , not buying something " so they have the right to award 3rd tier to anybody they "deem fit " .

  • cutty77

    Your dealing with a guy that runs for elections,and knows he not going to win.But he makes the other people spend all there money with him. JR is use to living on other peoples money,not his own. It takes alot of pink paint to paint his driveway down in Palm Beach.

    • William

      Get it right Cutty, that not paint, it's 100% top grade MARBLE!

      • cutty77

        Pink Marble to boot. You can tell all JR's Taste is in his mouth. Talk about running into a salesman.

  • Jt

    So this is why the R's worked so hard to get Morrisey in as AG, Friends of R----.

    • wvman75

      Morrisey got elected by the people of West Virginia and he's done a good job since he's been the AG. Not everyone can be a liberal socialist like yourself. Knothead.

    • Grant

      Could be the dumbest post on here and that is saying a lot!

  • Jay

    All I know is that some party in this is going to lose A LOT of money. These are strong allegations. One side or the other will end up paying through the nose for this little cat fight.

  • Question

    From the Daily Mail, IMG has already invested over $1 million in preparing for this season, 35+ stations have invested their time and money into carrying the games, and $2.5 million in new sponsors have signed on. Does it seem an injunction will be less likely? Seems like it would hurt WVU and IMG a lot more.

  • THE MEB

    The funniest thing about this whole situation is that if any other company, other than WVRC would have filed this suit, WVU would have stomped them to the ground like nobody's business. WVRC is the only media/coal/limestone/golf course/ company that has the political and economic will and clout to bring a fair fight. That is what I am hoping we all are going for is the truth, and the truth steps backwards when cronyism and politics come to the fore. Now that it's a fair fight---game on!!

    • Grant

      You realize the only "winners" in this are lawyers who will make sickening amounts of money. JR needs to go away before he makes himself or this state look any worse.

  • Bob Melphis

    Allan,
    Take this into consideration by Don Marquis when you defend the owners of WVRC.

    When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him: "Whose?"

    • Allan Taylor

      Not defending WVRC, Bob. I've attempted to correct misinformation spewed by people on both sides. And I suppose you can apply the same question of the wealthy investors on WVU's side, but it sounds like you're more interested in a class-struggle than the specific issues at hand.

      • Concerned

        Not sure what's what. But I'm still waiting for a side other than WVRC's on this site. I don't exactly remember two sided unbiased reporting happening here or in DP regarding this story.

        • Joe

          I don't have a dog in this fight but, like many, want the truth to emerge.

          However, I have by my count approx 11+ weeks in which WVU refused to comply with legally submitted FOIA requests that were ultimately honored (they always are, as it is the law). Had they been, the same sequence would be happening in the late Spring/early summer, not during kickoff week.

          • Alum

            How long do you think it takes to process a FOIA request? I can guarantee you it takes a significant amount of time. The information has to be pulled together, reviewed and then vetted through internal legal counsel. Eleven weeks really isn't all that long.

          • Shadow

            If it didn't take all the time to read and redact the incriminating data, all it would take is a copier.

  • Jeff

    Wait, I thought it was established WVU didn't have to bid the rights at all. What am I missing?

    • Jim

      Basically, JR didn't like that his bid of little over 5 million for 10 years got beat out by a ~8 million a year for 10 year bid. Which is odd.. after all he did say he was not going to bid a 2nd time??

      • Allan Taylor

        @Jim: WVRC's bid was closer to $78 million with a deal showing only a 3-percent growth. WVRC's contention was that more growth would have meant more revenue and the ability not to have to buyback rights if Big 12 TV network ever comes to fruition. (Individual SEC schools bought back their rights at a premium during the past year.)

        • Robert

          That number totally contradicts what was reported by the Charleston Daily Mail...5 million over ten years. WVRC then tried to explained some fuzzy math radio advertising scheme that would have netted WV additonal revenue. I am not sure who is right and who is wrong...but it sure as heck makes West Virginia look bad in the national spot-light. Once again...is there any question why this State ranks dead last in every category that actually matters.

          • Allan Taylor

            @Robert: It contradicts the first Daily Mail story. A followup article a couple days later provided more detail and a WVRC response.

          • WVUP

            Robert, the article in the Dailey mail was extremely misleading. It conveniently left out more than $61,000,000 of WVRC's bid. I was an observer at the hearing today and based on what was presented, the WVRC bid would have been better over the 10 year deal for WVU mainly because the WVRC bid gave WVU. 65% of all new dollars to WVU and the IMG bid shared $0 with WVU until IMG's revenue threshold was met. Those Rev. Sharing thresholds were very high ($9,000,000 this year and increasing to more than $13,000,000 in year 10. The likelyhood that those would ever be met is very small. Therefore there is a gap of $35,000,000 between the IMG guarantee and their rev sharing thresholds which means IMG would keep all of the profit up to the thresholds, where as the WVRC bid would provide WVU with 65% of every dollar. After seeing todays proceedings, I believe WVU made a mistake in its evaluation and awarding of the contract to IMG.

          • wv2ga

            Also from the newspaper article about the total amount of the WVRC, is that WVRC did NOT show all of the values and numbers that they are claiming now.

            Even the WVRC admitted that those larger numbers did NOT appear in the bid. How does that even happen within a professional bid? And to now come back and complain? This is of their own doing, submit a limited, umprofessional bid and it won't get approved.

            Oh, we can sue to cover our own mistakes.

        • Alum

          Didn't WVRC's president make some comment about WVU doing some of the calculations in-house? Why even bid if you are not willing to do the work to present a proposal that is complete?

          Allan, I read WVRC's bid that posted through the FOIA process and frankly, it was lacking. If WVRC's submittal was not complete, shame on them.

        • big tom

          UR TRYING YOU BEST TO SUCK UP

    • Allan Taylor

      @Jim: AG Morrisey said it appeared to his office that bidding may not have been required, but multiple WVU sources said awarding such a sizable contract without going through a fair bidding process would have been improper. Bidding, by definition, should guarantee WVU the most revenue. Luck and the procurement office were entirely right to engage in bidding.

  • cutty77

    This Travesty of legal BS is why Major Companies don't like and Will Not do Business in WV borders. Mr Evans is The Judge acted Like Robin Hood in The Natural Gas case several Years ago.Gave people Millions,an Millions of someone else's money

    • Woody

      This not just a WV issue - it could have happened many places.

    • STL

      Cutty77,

      I think the real reason major companies don't come to WV is the reason this lawsuit was filed to begin with. Crooked, fraudulent, back room deals like the one WVU obviously tried to use to award the original RFP

  • DWM

    I think the legal wrangling is good for WV citizens, if those representing WVU in the fielding marketing of these media rights, they should be punished. If they did nothing wrong, this will allow that to come to light and we can all move on. This isn't a bad thing.

    • Bob

      Its only a bad thing if WVU loses out on all the money IMG is giving it.

      • Luke

        There is not much difference between what WVU was making managing the rights on their own and what IMG has offered. The length of this deal may not be in the best interests of WVU. If IMG can increase the revenue certainly WVU can increase the revenue on its own. Lord knows there are enough Athletic Department employees to work on increasing revenue.

        • Grant

          From the FOI report the Charleston paper obtained, IMG was offering $4 mil more per year guaranteed and twice the length. From where I am from, that is significant.

      • Alvin

        Does it matter if they broke the law doing it?

        • big tom

          NOPE , AS LONG AS JR IS ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN.

  • Allan Taylor

    My quick count reveals at least 22 "participating" lawyers in the Monongalia County courtroom this afternoon. We almost have a two-deep.

    • Luke

      How about identifying the lawyers, their firms, and who they represent so those of us who are following this story can get the whole picture.

      You can't tell the players without a program, you know?

    • Woodchuck

      Give us the details of all involved. This must b a circus.

      • Joe

        ...."At Contracts and Pricing, #31, Mike Miller....at Forensic Accounting, # 56, Paul Robinson,....".

    • Greg

      And the only winner in this fiasco JR created of course will be the lawyers. Oh and the pilot and airport over in MD who will make money off of shuttling this great West Virginian back and forth between his Fl home and the courthouse.

  • Bob Melphis

    Cronyism is alive and well for the wealthy and entitled robber barons in West Virginia. Nothing has changed in 150 years!

    • Allan Taylor

      @Bob: Per your old-fashioned analogy, I'm envisioning men in dark hats with evil mustaches.

      • Joe

        LOL! Snidely Whiplash from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle show!

    • Curious

      Right. WVU cronyism is abound in West Virginia.

    • William

      There is a new sheriff in town. Get um' JR, don't let them come up for air! Drill baby drill. When people get caught doing shady things, they should have a price to pay. Luck is all about MONEY and GREED, it has taken WVU to an all time low in sports! It will continue to be all downhill for a long time for WVU fans.

      • Woody

        If WVU wants to compete in the world of Big Boy Football - they are going to have find as much money ad possible.

        • Wilson

          I think everyone agrees that WVU should get as much money as possible, however, they should do so in an honest and ethical manner and evaluate the bids on their actual merit and not based on their pre-determined, preferred bidder and change the process to insure that bidder would be the eventual winner. additionally, should WVU, sell complete control of their proprietary property to an out of state entity when they could partner with an in-state company that would ultimately allow WVU to make more $$ AND they would still have complete control of their own product. All $$ stay in WV an not go to Winston Salem, NC

      • big tom

        UR A TOTAL IDIOT

      • WDPark

        College football is big business. William, you must be a Marshall fan. Have to face reality.