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

  • David

    Only in WV would someone sue a WV public school, because they didnt get what they wanted!!!!! Leave to WVians to screw something up.

  • Medman

    Hey boys and girls, the big problem for us is that this trial will be more interesting than the football and basketball teams this year.

  • WDPark

    I don't believe WV Radio Corps and John Raese are clean in this whole thing. Wish the politicians would stay out of things.

  • Chris

    I would greatly advise JR to back into damage control mode...be grateful for the gravy train that was...laugh your way to the bank... give Hoppy a nice raise...and CASH OUT...it's the end of line for WVRC in this one.

    It's called evolution. I hope WVRC wisely spends its resources on its own positive evolution, rather than trying to force a love affair that doesn't work anymore and doesn't have a future. Let it go before people and advertisers tune out completely.

  • Billy

    Since Luck has been the AD, Morgantown has become Dramaville. Fire people, change this, change that, more money, new conference, more money, under the table back room deals, and did I mention more money. He also locked the teams up so tight in the new conference that they can't change if they wanted to. I thought he was a good guy. I never missed listening to a game he played while at WVU. Now my one word description for him is ruthless. I am hurt that the programs and their long history of integrity have been tarnished.

  • Big John

    If you go to the Charleston Daily Mail under Cops and Courts you can read about the Judge's Decision that an injunction will not be granted but case will continue. It is also stated that IMG has 70 new advertising sponsorships worth 2.5 million Dollars and that they have spent 1 Million for the football season. To me this is a + 1.5 Million dollars for IMG and Wvu. How many stations does IMG have as compared to WVRC. The Judge cited financial harm to the University if the injunction was granted as well aspu;ic interest would be at stake since the game is Saturday-Lets go Mountaineers/

  • Bandit

    Nobody, that's the point. JR doesn't want anyone but WVRC broadcasting WVU Football (or any other sport for that matter), yet he doesn't want to pay anymore than he has to to get the job done. Sounds like a bad case of jealousy to me.

  • THE MEB

    My first post, several hours ago, stated among other things, that WVRC was the only media company in WV that could hold WVU to the truth, and I was hoping what we ultimately were looking for was the truth. However, it seems from the majority of comments made since then that you aren't in search of the truth, you are wanting to vilify JR because he had the audacity to stand up to WVU for what he felt, and now a judge has agreed, by denying numerous motions to dismiss a lawsuit filed against WVU officials by WVRC, that the lawsuits had merit (or truth). You talked about JR being a part of the old buddy network which has caused WV to be next to last on most positive indicators, but I contend that WVU was trying to steamroll it's weight around like they are accustomed to doing in WV, and WVRC was the only company strong enough to make it to a judge with their grievances. I, for one, applaud JR for sticking up for his rights however it turns out.

    • OhMY

      It is refreshing to see someone posting here that has their priorities in the correct order.

  • CaptainQ

    First of all, kudos for all the new terms to designate 'he who must not be named' on this MB! Well done! I'll have to remember those!

    Now, on to my observations. What exactly WILL happen to the WVU football broadcasts IF this case gets settled during the season? IMG already has it's broadcast teams and crews in place. Trying to change 'mid stream' would cause a mound of confusion and perhaps result in non-broadcast of some games while yet another 'transition' takes place. So for Mountaineer fans, the BEST thing that could happen short term is for this case to drag on into next year.

    Did anyone hear Friday's afternoon talk radio show when poor old Hoppy K. was talking about how WVRC would be 'covering' WVU football games this season? There's still going to be a Pre-Game show (five hours long) and a Post-Game show. But since they can't do the play-by-play for the actual game anymore, they're going to have a 'talk-show style' game-themed program instead. It'll feature 'tweets' and 'blogs' from the game as well as Hoppy K and other WVRC sports personalities discussing the action 'live.' As I listened, I truly felt sorry for Hoppy as he tried to put a 'positive spin' on the fact that WVRC lost the live broadcast rights. Like trying to smile and sing while rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    Oh well, life goes on for 'JR' and his broadcast empire, even without the Tier 3 rights.

  • Bob Melphis

    Because you won't report it judge denies WVRC motion to reset WVU bidding process for media rights contract for sporting events.
    http://www.dailymail.com/policebrfs/201308260023

  • cutty77

    My sources from WVU did just tell me that its business as it was with IMG. So nothing has changed as far as that goes. But stay tuned. As SANDS THROUGH A HOUR GLASS,SUCH AS DAYS OF OUR LIVES.

  • Mister Man

    WVU should have given it's third tier rights to IMG in the first place. This would not be an issue. IMG guaranteed money. J.R. offered possible/projected profits.

  • Big John

    Allan= you need to update your report to indicate that the injunction was denied-Beckley Raleigh Register, Charlestom Gazette amd Charleston Daily Mail will be in tommorrow paper. Probably won't be in Dominion Post. People want's to know the up to date news.

    • Allan Taylor

      Big John: This was the first story of the day. An entirely new story covered the afternoon's happenings.

  • Woody

    The biggest problem is the WVRC submitted a rookie bid - without any real detailed projections
    I was like submitting an outline when the major paper was due.

  • Morgantown

    Time to update your story Allan to include the denial of the WVRC injunction request...of course that would not fit into the WVRC agenda.