MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Mike Parsons’ 34-year tenure within the West Virginia athletics department officially will end June 30, according to a settlement that follows the deputy AD being stripped of his duties last summer, a university source told MetroNews.

WVU athletics

WVU deputy athletics director Mike Parsons reportedly was stripped of his duties last summer.

Parsons’ contentious relationship with WVU athletics director Oliver Luck became especially strained during the fall of 2012 when they clashed over bidding irregularities that surfaced during the initial awarding of third-tier media rights to IMG.

Neither was part of the evaluation panel when WVU was forced to re-bid and chose IMG a second time during the summer of 2013, by which point Luck had decided to remove Parsons from the department, a source said.

“(Parsons) had a lawyer who felt that he had a good case against the university arguing that he was unfairly relieved of his duties,” said a source who spoke to MetroNews on condition of anonymity.

Parsons declined to respond Tuesday to the source’s information, and Parson’s attorney Mike Carey also could not be reached.

WVU spokesman John Bolt referred questions about Parsons to sports information director Mike Fragale, who said, ”We don’t have any comment at this time.”

Though Parsons remains on the athletics department staff directory, his office reportedly has been cleared.

“He was asked to go away,” the source said. “He’s no longer a member of the athletic department. Technically he’s working in the athletic department until June 30, but he’s gone.”

Under open records laws, MetroNews has requested details of Parsons’ settlement, which the source said guarantees the outgoing deputy AD an undetermined payment.

A 1977 WVU journalism graduate, Parsons became the Mountaineers’ sports information director in 1979 and advanced to assistant athletics director three years later. By 2003 he was promoted to his current role, in which he had managed the daily operation of the department, including oversight of employment contracts and sponsorships.

Parsons helped build the Mountaineer Sports Network, which handled the in-house broadcast rights of WVU sports before they were outsourced to IMG last summer.

State attorney general Patrick Morrisey said in April 2013 his office found “significant errors and sloppiness” in Luck’s handling of the initial bidding for the school’s third-tier media rights. Luck originally joined Parsons and associate athletic director of business operations Mike Szul in evaluating the first round of bidding. When those two had questions about Luck’s preference for selecting IMG, the WVU athletics director added three panel members mid-process.

Neither Parsons or Szul voted in December 2012 when Luck sought a same-day approval for IMG’s bid. Morrisey said the two original panelists “were not afforded a timely opportunity to formally vote in favor of the winning proposal.”

West Virginia Radio Corp., the parent company of MetroNews, previously provided a statewide network of affiliates for WVU radio broadcasts of football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball—an agreement that ended with the outsourcing of third-tier rights to IMG. WVRC has litigation pending against Luck, IMG and various WVU administrators involved with the first round of bidding the attorney general nixed.

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Comments

  • allan woody

    What goes around comes around remenber jack fleming

  • Ole Sasquatch

    All I know is IMG leaves a lot to be desired, considering what we had before. Much more commercialized and a strong Keyser radio channel out of the mix. I can tell you this: because of this transition the Eastern Panhandle spirit has taken a big hit.

  • tom

    after 34 years......................! the guy deserves better than this. the athletic dept spends waaaaaay too much money compared to the academic ones anyway. does mr. parsons get a good state pension after all those years ? he should.

  • Peachstate Fan

    Hopefully Mr. Luck will be gone soon. Are we on the path to a national championship in football or basketball? We need to clean house in Morgantown.

  • Don

    Mike Parsons has been a quality professional and productive one at WVU for virtually his entire career. He is a gentlemen that quietly goes about his business at WVU. Let's call it what it was - an unjustified dismissal because he did not bow and march to every beat of the new drummer.

    I was very pleased when the university hired Oliver Luck as the new AD at WVU. I believed he would be a breath of fresh air. How very wrong I was. He has ruined everything he has touched.

    The athletic program AND athletic "business" at WVU is suffering under his "progressive" leadership. His decision to sell beer under control in the stands is not working. People are buying far more than 2 bottles per game and also underage people are getting beer from people of legal age. Is he making more money? Probably, but at great expense of fan comfort.

    I knew Mike's parents Bob and Marilyn. As an aside, I saw Bob make the greatest block in football I have ever seen. On Hoppy Shores 103 yard kickoff return against Huntington East. At about midfield Bob took out 2 would be tacklers with a single flying block!

    Great parents and a great person for WVU. The person who needs to go is Oliver Luck.

    Thanks for "listening."

  • john

    I can not belive the way this was handled, and the da for the state don't know insider trading is not legeal! martha stewart went to jail for it

  • Big John

    WVU should have done this several years ago. I resent WVU have to pay any settlement as I feel that Mr. Parsons did not have the best interests of WVU at heart-Glad he is gone////

  • jay ziehm

    sounds to me this Ron guy is one of Ollies yes men. why don't you try to convince the greedy jerk to go somewhere else and maybe he will take you with him. if he was such a great financial wizard why didn't Texas take him probably because they knew they would get a complete butt hole.

  • jay ziehm

    good luck Mr. Parsons you might be out the front door but you leave with class and your head held high for what you did in your WVU tenure. as long as Oliver Luck is A.D. he will continue to rip off the WVU faithful. money is not everything to some but it is to him. Texas knew he was a loser that's why he is still here. when it comes time for him to leave he will have to crawl out the back door wait and see. maybe someday Luck could be director of operations for the Indainapolis colts real soon I hope. the farther away from WVU this man is the better the Mountaineer faithful will be.

  • Brian

    Lol at quoting an anonymous source and following that with Parsons and his attorney had no comment/could not be reached. The anonymous source is clearly Parsons, his attorney, or somebody very closely connected to them. No mention of the millions WVU lost out on over the years by letting Parsons and WVRC control the media rights.
    Your obviously biased article makes it appear as though Luck handled this situation in a somewhat gangster type fashion, and there may be some truth to that. However, the old arrangement Parsons and WVRC had created certainly was not serving WVU's best interest; they are no knight in shining armor for the University.
    I personally am glad to hear that Parsons is leaving. Although I have had no dealings with him, many have opined that he is a first class jerk and nearly impossible to work with.

    • Allan Taylor

      @Brian: While we can't disclose the source, it most certainly wasn't Parsons. Throughout other contractual matters, even ones predating the IMG deal, he was never one to leak info or speculate on outcomes. As a journalist seeking info, that could be frustrating; but I also respected the fact he released info at times appropriate to the department he served and wasn't feeding details to hand-picked outlets.

  • wornoutwv

    The entire program has been a mess under Luck. He is obviously a large part of the problem. So someone points out where Luck screwed up and then gets the axe?

  • Alum

    Looks like jr lost another...

  • GoEers

    His departure was long overdue. I wish him the best of luck.

  • chad

    Parsons benefited from withholding games for his financial gain?

    where is Mike Hall when you need him

  • Allen

    Goodbye Parsons. Don't let door hit ya where the good Lord split ya. Boo-Yah!