MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University has agreed to pay outgoing deputy athletics director Mike Parsons $325,000, according to settlement documents released Monday.

WVU athletics

WVU deputy athletics director Mike Parsons will receive a $325,000 settlement upon retiring from his post June 30.
MORE: Read the three-page settlement

While acknowledging that Parsons “raised various allegations and legal claims” against the university and athletics director Oliver Luck, the school denies all such claims in the settlement. Parsons will continue to receive his current salary and benefits through June 30, at which point he will receive the lump-sum payout.

In the interim, the settlement states Parsons will not maintain a campus office but shall “work remotely from West Virginia University facilities on special assignments” from Luck.

A source speaking on condition of anonymity told MetroNews last week that Parsons’ office had been cleaned out—the result of a strained relationship with Luck, who became AD in June 2010. Luck stripped Parsons of his duties last summer, the source said, and established that Parsons’ would officially exit his post by June 30, ending a 35-year run within the athletics department.

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

Among the settlement’s other notable points:

• Until his June 30 departure, Parsons can accept consultant’s work or even full-time employment with a non-university company and shall continue to draw his WVU salary as long as he fulfills the requirements of Luck’s assignments.

• WVU will provide a letter of recommendation from the vice president of human resources recognizing Parsons’ service since 1979 and citing his decision to leave as “voluntary and not related to performance.”

• Parsons will qualify for any customary incentives should the current WVU basketball team win the Big 12 title, reach the NCAA tournament or qualify for the NIT.

• Post-retirement, Parsons will receive two season tickets to WVU football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball games.

• WVU and Parsons agreed to refrain from making “any disparaging comments, remarks or communications regarding each other.”

MetroNews obtained the terms of the settlement through a Freedom of Information Act request.

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

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  • Mike

    Yep I spoke the truth of the boss of Metronews ,and the comment is no longer here. What ever happened to honesty is the best policy.

  • H.

    What I would like to know if why WVU is letting a loyal employee go and keeping Oliver Luck. Something smells at WVU!!

  • Mitch

    Obviously, the "P" in "FWP" stands for Parsons. You would have to be one of his family members to keep mindlessly defending his malfeasance.
    He wilfully and utterly FAILED in his legal, fiduciary responsibilty to WVU, costing the University $millions.
    The only thing that I object to here is that Mr. Luck is not going after Parsons with the full force of the law, as I am beyond certain that Parsons has long engaged in criminal conduct in this matter.

    • FWP


      Sorry to disappoint. You assumed that FWP were my initials. Just like your comment, you are wrong. Please explain how Parsons "willfully and utterly FAILED in his legal, fiduciary responsibility to WVU costing the University $millions".... If you look at the facts (which are public records) you will see that Mike Parsons and his staff brought in hundreds of millions of dollars to the University during his tenure, including $6 million + in 2012 alone. I'd challenge you to find anyone else in the athletic department has done that. Mr. Luck's new contract is paying our beloved University only $4 million this year.

  • Sam

    His contract expires 6/30/14. All he would be entitled to and all any employee would normally receive would be the salary due under that contact and the accrued benefits (vested retirement, unused sick/annual leave compensation, etc.)

    The $325,000 lump sum and the post separation perks are very much out of the ordinary and it would be A CRIME, literally, crime to pay a state employee such money from any source either just to make him go away or to reward him for his service. so we can safely rule out those.

    It would not be literally criminal, but it would be criminally stupid to pay an employee money or benefits he has not earned under his contract in the absence of reason to believe not paying him would prove more costly. It could prove more costly not to pay someone such a large sum only if he did in fact have a valid claim for damages due to employer's wrongdoing or if the employee could disclose information which if it became public knowledge would likely cost the employer a greater amount.

    Trying to paint this as anything but a decision by Luck and the University to settle a claim they were very afraid to litigate is beyond naïve. It does not cost anywhere near that kind of money to defend a frivolous claim by an ex-employee and Mr. Parsons has ZERO right to have a new contract for employment executed.

    • FWP

      Finally someone else who actually understands or knows the facts of this situation. What a breath of fresh air. Thank you Sam

    • Golfer

      Luck is a very mixed bag as AD. Clearly, he has connections and influence in external circles that can be used to advance our interests. Just as clearly, in terms of the internal operations of the department he has made a few poor decisions and even when his decision-making may not be the culprit, his execution is often astoundingly clumsy for a person whose job description includes managing the operations. We would benefit greatly from hiring an assistant with skills that include managing an organization.

  • takemetoemstar

    tho not a total fan of OL, I do know Parsons was part of the 'old guard' - as somewhat of an insider the $$ left on the table from not aggressively going after Corp sponsorships (this fell under Parsons prevue) was astounding. you can clearly see an increase in this since OL has come in the door. this is just one case or instance that Parsons fell short in his responsibilities. bottom line tho, get on board with the new regime or you are shown the door. if you are in management, you know you surround yourself with the people that have your vision (and back) and will carry out duties pulling on the same rope all together.

  • El Supremo

    Having read the settlement agreement, the University essentially paid Mr. Parsons one and a half-year of salary. Given Mr. Parsons' pay level and living status, the $325,000 is NOT much in today's economy.

    In last week's Wall Street Journal, a new study indicates that to generate $100,000 in retirement income (not counting social security) a retiree needs to save and subsequently invest $2.2 million.

    Given his age and without the current baggage, Mr. Parsons will find it difficult to find employment paying a wage to which he has grown accustomed. Especially in West Virginia.

    He will now learn if his loyalty to WVRC is repaid in kind.

    • cutty77

      No its not alot of money. Sounds to me,HE HAD NO CASE AND A BAD LAWYER. This money is pocket change. Mike P is not as smart as some of you people think. Very Dumb,and lucky to have had this Job at WVU

      • Doctor L

        Seems if Mr. Parsons had no case and a bad lawyer, Mr. Luck would have simply terminated his employment. Period. It is obvious to even the simplest of minds (sorry cutty77) that Mr. Parsons had a good case and WVU is simply paying him to NOT sue.

  • jay ziehm

    there may be a settlement which he well deserves. same thing as the buyout clause in that jack asses contract (DANA) but this issue is not over. when the WVRC law suit comes to court I hope all the wrong that Oliver luck is alleged to have done is found to be true and Hope Mike Parsons is put under oath to string (OLLIE UP)' Then we can look for a new A.D. while the greedy S.O.B. is shipped back to Texas where he wishes he was anyway

    • cutty77

      This assaine Law Suit with WVRC will go on for next 25 years. WV has 55 counties,and i'm sure JR will have it tryed in all 55 Counties.

  • Darren

    No data to back this up, but I get the sense of a man that expected to get the AD job, only to be looked over. Unable to fully support the new man in town due to emotions.

    • DaiAtlas

      Yeah... that's NOT Mike Parsons. He is the definition of a team player.

    • Darren

      I also have suspicions of his relatinship with WVRC. It would have taken MSN years to achieve the level of programming, reach, exposure, and income that IMG has brought NOW. Those years of lost revenue would not have been re-captured

      • luck sucks

        I cant even pick up img just outside of charleston.There is no pregame I cant listen to the coachs show. Part of the reason WVU is so big is the connection to the fans with out msn and a lot of otherthing Luck has done I think this is lost and good be real bad for all of wvu sports.

        • Steve

          For $79 you can call a phone number and listen to all available programs. $$$$$$$$$$ is what it is all about. There are areas of the state I travel in that I cannot hear these programs on the radio so you are correct. Somehow I feel eventually that the ratings will dictate the $ just like anyother programing and they will have to expand coverage and improve quality. I have not heard anything I want to spend $79 on. I will just read the message boards.

          • FWP

            Steve you are correct. The IMG network is very weak at best and there are many areas in WV where you just can't hear the games. Despite what Drew Payne (Cutty77) says many Mountaineer fans can't hear the games. Luck and his boys, Payne included, need to swallow their pride and do what's right for the University and Mountaineer fans everywhere. By the way Drew, er I mean cutty77, anyone who knows anything about college networks knows that MSN was much much better than what IMG put on the air this year. That fact is obvious to even the biggest LUCK supporter

          • cutty77

            Do you really think anybody that wants to listen to a WVU broadcast,can't. IMG is a national Company. UPS signed on this year with WVU,because of IMG. WVU apparel sales are 17th in The Country,17th we are ahead of every ACC Team except NC and in front of Auburn. WVU is very well known outside of WV. WVRC doesn't even compare. Quit acting like the Do. There a Good High School Network and thats it.

        • cutty77

          Do you really think people believe what you are talking about? Maybe you are talking about Charleston SC.

          • BigMo

            If it were Charleston, SC we would have clean water....

          • BH

            The service areas for the IMG "network" radio stations do not compare with the coverage area/strength of signal WVRC provided. That is a fact.

      • Public Ed

        Are you joking? The 'new' network reaches far less people than MSN did (about half I've been told) and in many places across the state you can't even hear the games. Their talent is nowhere near the level of what MSN had, and according to their own statements, IMG brought in much less $$ than MSN did last year. How could you make such a erroneous statement?

        • Mister Man

          I've been told?

      • JL

        IMG programming? Three guys in tent city just riffing for hours - crappy sound - the worst collection of radio stations - a horrible telephone feed for mobile. You gotta be kidding me. The IMG games suck!

        • cutty77

          They just started a month before the season started because of your Station WVRC. But WVU already has its money in The Bank. Small Detail you forgot to bring up My Little friend.

          • OKANYDAY

            cutty77, I don't know where you get all your info from about WVU making all this money. In a report just released by USATODAY, it showed that WVU lost somewhere around $ 9 million in the Athletic Dept. in 2013. That's was the difference in revenue and expenses. You are always on here sugar-coating everything !

  • Wirerowe

    I wish Mike parsons all the best and thank him for his many years of loyal service to WVU. During that period WVU's brand and major sports programs achieved tremendous growth and national recognition. I hope and pray that the WVU athletic program can build on those successes


    His $325,000 is at the mercy of Luck's whim. Wouldn't want to be in his shoes.

    • cutty77

      Plus he makes 165,000 plus a year. So he will have of that for doing no work at all. So June he will be paid 325,000 plus 8250.00. Not bad.

  • Jim N Charleston

    How he will ever survive on a normal full government retirement & benefits and a $325k settlement is beyond me? That poor poor man. I will bet his season tickets will be non club level with out parking passes too. Oh the lack of humanity!

    Oh I feel Skippy and Fufari must both write columns on Tuesday to proclaim the 3rd world employee treatment from AD Luck towards this suffering man.

    I hope the US AG Holder and the UN are alerted to the human rights violations committed by the WVU AD towards JR's favorite former MSN stooge, errg exec.

    I'm Jim N Charleston

    • JL

      Stooge - /stooj/ noun: Someone who would hire Dana Holgorsen as Head Football Coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers and then write a one-sided, bone headed contract that wasn't earned.

    • FWP

      I don't think anyone has said Parsons will not be fine financially. He will. He will not be unemployed long. He is a very talented individual with a lot to offer, it's just unfortunate that WVU is so corrupt that it would treat a long term, dedicated employee this way. It amazes me that some people thinks this is ok

      • Curious


      • The bookman

        Regardless of his worth and dedication to WVU, he can no longer function at that level at WVU. He should have resigned long ago when it became obvious to all that his hostile working condition was permanent. As I've said before, he is obviously a bright, dedicated, and well thought of personality at the WVU Athletic Department. He also has made some agitated as would be reasonable given the job he has held for 35 years. But no one is bullet proof, and Luck's time could end the same way as we are on the search for a new President. Like it or not, WVU is Big Business, and this is just business as usual in that swimming pool.

        • Larry

          Why would you resign if they are going to pay you hundreds of thousands of dollars to do nothing?

          • The bookman

            Because sometimes ego trumps all. It can be difficult to accept that it's over when you have invested so much into the success of something, and I suspect that could be why. But in the end, It's Luck's Department. If they can't work together, then where does that leave him? I don't think it's about the money, as much as it is about pride.

          • cutty77

            Eddie P and Mike P both had Pud Positions at WVU. Both had to be almost carried out because they knew they could never find a Job like these 2 Had. This is why neither one left,untill both were fired. Well paid jobs and did nothing.

  • call home

    With the outgoing of Parsons , and others since Luck showed up, hoping the next to leave is .
    L U C K !!!!!!!!!
    Never cared for him as a player and think a lot less of him now.

    What a pain he has caused the Univ.

    • Charles

      Speaking for yourself. In many eyes he has fostered growth in the athletic programs that has been needed for years. Not the status quo that had reached it's ceiling. I know it's hard for you old farts to understand. For growth to happen you have to make moves. Not keep feeding the same few fatcats

      • FWP


        Please explain this growth you speak of. As I recall, during the Ed Pastilong and Mike Parsons tenure, WVU won many bowl games and went to the Elite 8 in basketball, was nationally ranked in both major sports and had a very positive national brand. Now what do we have? Our football team is failing miserably and our athletic department is in a legal mess and is being run into the ground by an AD who is trying like crazy to find a job anywhere else but here. If you think that is growth, I'd rather NOT grow.

      • JL

        Were we reaching our ceiling when we won three BCS bowl games? When we beat the SEC Champ, Big 12 Champ and ACC Champ? Shake the cobwebs from your hear and stop drinking the Kool Aid. We are in a downward plunge!

  • WVU1

    And the switch from one good old boy network to another continues.

  • mad hatter

    luck can really throw our money around,,, huggins , holgie,,, now parsons.... man where does all this money come from,,, bet some donors wonder too

    • Mister Man

      Luck has nothing to do with throwing Marshall's money around.

    • Aaron

      Given that WV's athletic department is self sufficient, we know where it's not coming from.

  • Greg

    Ahhhh. Mike Parsons accomplished what every red blooded American worker yearns for - "Suspended with Pay". :) He and his lawyer will be laughing all the way to the bank. Anyone wanna bet he'll be "officially" on JR's payroll by the end of the month? Or if he has any high school aged kids that are good at basketball, Jim Justice will have him dealing black jack at The Greenbrier very soon.

    • FWP

      I'll take that bet. He will end up at a larger University outside of WV. Most of his peers recognize his value.

      • cutty77

        Parsons will never leave Mon. Country. Why would you hire someone that just sued the place they left. He will go to work for Mayberry RFD Radio Station.

        • FWP


          You are either an idiot or so uneducated you can't comprehend English. Mike Parsons didn't sue WVU. Luck payed him off so he wouldn't sue. If there was no wrongdoing or nothing to sue about , why would he do that. Not only did he pay him off, but is giving him a letter of recommendation. Those things don't happen unless you want to keep the truth from getting out

      • Charles

        Won't be Arizona. He was a big part of rich rods departure. Hanging on to the past