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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Comments

  • 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.

    • 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

      • 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 !

      • 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?

      • 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.

        • cutty77

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

          • 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.

          • BigMo

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

        • 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.

          • 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.

          • 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

    • DaiAtlas

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

  • 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

  • RANDY

    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
    L8

    • 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

      • 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?

          • 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.

          • 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.

      • Curious

        Agree!

    • 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.

  • 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

      • 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!

      • FWP

        Charles,

        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.

  • 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

    • Aaron

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

    • Mister Man

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

  • 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.

      • Charles

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

      • 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

          Cutty77,

          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

  • El Supremo

    Having worked for several Fortune 500 companies during my 40-year career, when the boss made a decision, you were expected to support it.

    In the subject case, it was intuitively obvious to even the most casual observer that Mr. Parsons 1) did NOT support Mr. Luck's and the athletic department decision to sell rights to IMG for increased revenue; and 2) the close relationship between Mr. Parsons and WVRC gave the appearance of favoritism to such a degree that it preceded his required all allegiance to his employer (WVU). In private sector, Mr. Parsons would have been shown the door more than a year ago.

    • TRUTH

      Soooo, why the payoff?.....or hush money?

      • Concerned

        Cheaper than court. Closes it so wvu can move forward. I'd have to say the case prob wasn't very strong, as far as payouts, that's pretty small.

    • rekterx

      This... a thousand times over .... THIS!

    • Art in Ohio

      I also worked for a major Fortune 500 company and Mr. Parsons would have been gone long ago. Mr. Parsons gave up his position at WVU due to changes at the university...which he would not accept. As you stated-- when you go against the boss, at that level, on major issues you will be directed towards the door.

    • Shadow

      It is always good to support your boss, however, Luck was swaying a bidding process toward his personal choice. For an insider to do this is, most likely, criminal.

      • cutty77

        IMG has more Schools than anybody else in This Business,so those Schools AD's must of been swayed too.Mike Parsons was 2 Faced,and people told Oliver this. But Oliver respected Mike and tired to work with him,but Mike Screwed him in the End. So Oliver returned the favor with pay. One thing i leaned in Business,if you go after the King you better get him,because if you don't he will get you. Mike Parsons is done in The Sports business outside of WV. Oliver is a Very Respected Man outside of WV. This is how Dumb Mike was.

      • Poca J

        Why was it his personal choice and how did he try to sway the decision?

  • Country Roads

    I see this as another part of the old buddy group before Mr. Luck came here , and at all cost he is going to clean house . As I understand there was a BIG problem in the athletic department for some time ..It is no secret why Rich Rod left. Before any say it was $$$$ that too was part, but he was very upset with the Athletic department. Remember the year before Rich Rod left he almost went to Alabama. The athletic department made promises to him and he decided to stay and they did not stick to the promises and he was very upset, then the Michigan job came open and his agent worked out a deal and he left. I heard Rich say he should not have left but they ran him off. So as crazy William always Says West Virginia is a mess not anymore , it used to be, Mr. Luck is cleaning it up..Go Mountaineers and prosper...

  • Matthew

    You people are absolutely clueless about how the game is played. This is the cost if doing business these days. Parsons screwed WVU for years through MSN by keeping it in house and working against having the rights being bid out...wake up!

    • ATTY

      Matthew, Parsons screwed WVU? Exactly how? You might want to do a little research before you make a silly comment like that. The consulting firm (Rockbridge Sports Group) that LUCK hired illegally released a press release / statement on Jan. 29 stating that they believe that Universities should NOT outsource their media rights and should maintain control of those rights and grow them from within. This is exactly the opposite of what Luck says they to
      D him to do. Below is the link to that release. Seems Parsons knew all along what was best for WVU after all. Luck is much like our current POTUS, he can never admit when he is wrong and will try to eliminate anyone of disagrees

      http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/01/prweb11531709.htm

      • Alum

        Come on John, admit that MP provided your gravy train...

        • ATTY

          Not sure who John is but you obviously have no idea what you are talking about

      • Oh Did Ya?

        If it is a bad idea to sell media rights why has every major University done it?

        • TRUTH

          Many Universities and conferences are going the other way. Do the research!

      • NotFooled

        Ah, yeah, because they are getting into the business themselves...with top notch entities such as "the Michigan High School Athletic Association."

        Laughable

      • cutty77

        This is the dumbest comment i have seen on here.

    • CPA

      Absolutely correct Matthew. Mike was the cause of several problems in the athletic department prior to Luck's arrival.

      • FWP

        Name the problems! Accusations without facts.

        • cutty77

          @FWP,
          To late in The Day to start a Job like this one.Thousands of problems.

          • FWP

            Name 2 that you can back up with FACTS! Let's hear them?

          • cutty77

            @FWP,
            Rich Rod and John B. That was to easy. Coach B couldn't stand Mike, worse than Rich Rod.

          • MBC

            Cutty77,
            You have no idea what you are talking about. These are facts that everyone knows about.....Everyone knows that Rich Rod left because it was Michigan for goodness sakes and Parsons would not let him break NCAA rules, all true Mountianeer Fans should be proud of that. AND Beilein left for the same school and it was well known that his wife hated Morgantown. You can continue to try to blame on Parsons but anyone who knows anything at all about the situation knows better. We are still waiting on facts.

          • cutty77

            To FWP,MBC,
            Eddie P,Mike P,and WVRC are all gone. So Happy Days are ahead for WVU. Quit living in The Past,its over. There is no Future in The Past.

          • Doctor L

            @cutty77

            What's gone is any honesty and integrity in our athletic department. Guess what else is gone? winning seasons, bowl games, ncaa tournament bids, a positive national brand, the ability to hear the games on the radio, the ability for the average fan to afford tickets. I can go on and on. Its a shame that West Virginia University has allowed this to happen to themselves.

  • HHH

    You have to be kidding!!! Most wage earners would not earn this in ten years, and Parsons gets this for sitting on his rear end doing nothing.

    • Lawtalk

      Soooo, the question is, why would WVU pay this? The answer is obvious....to keep the truth from coming out. There is no other explanation

      • ShinnstonGuy

        There is another explanation. That is they thought this person was so bad at the job that they would pay to get rid of him. I don't know him and I am not saying that is the case, but there are two possible explanations. I imagine a journalist would dig for the truth, except not this news organization because they have personal ties. I don't mean that as an insult either.

        • ATTY

          The truth will come out. Rest assured. AND no one pays this amount of money to someone who is bad at their job.....you simply terminate them

          • Oh Did Ya?

            Not true. Attorney fees to defend yourself mount up. I would also suspect his tenure played into the decision to pay.

          • BH

            I wish the same could be said about Coach Holgerson.

          • TRUTH

            No atty fees necessary if you terminate with cause. Can also sue FOR atty fees

        • RANDY

          By that logic, they would give Holgerson a billion dollars to leave.

      • Brian

        The same could be said for Parsons. If he has some damaging truth against Luck and is loyal to the University, why would he settle instead of bringing out the truth, discrediting Luck, and still getting a big payday?

  • Lawtalk

    WOW, Cash to silence the one guy who told the truth. Reading the agreement, there is lots of emphasis on keeping Parsons quiet. One must wonder what he knows that Luck doesn't want anyone else to know. How much more of this is WVU going to put up with until they decide to remove the real problem. Only one common denominator in all of these messes....OL!

    • cutty77

      Just like Eddie P's deal. The Gift the keeps on Giving. Both these guys are Loyal as long as the money keeps coming in. What a Joke.

      • Aaron

        You are correct Cutty77. Luck has turned WVU Athletics into a Joke!

        • cutty77

          I guess your Right Einstien. We are in The Big 12,have a New Baseball Stadium coming. Oliver is getting ready to spend 50 to 60 mill. to upgrade all of our sports.Big 12 money vs The Big East which is gone. Are you really this Dumb,or did you stay at a Holiday Inn last Night.

    • tw eagle

      you gotta be on the Greer Industries payroll somewhere or somehow . . . this bozo parsons needed to be removed . . . guilty of betraying his 'trust' as a member of the WVU athletic department , the facts of guilt not being "solid" enough to stand up in a court of law - ergo , a settlement . . . keep up the good work Mr Luck , I doubt you've ferreted out all the 'rats' yet but this one I'm glad you 've shown the DOOR . . . THANK YOU Mr Luck

      • FWP

        Mr. Parsons was only guilty of one thing, telling the truth to the WV AG. That was the beginning of the end. I applaud his honesty. I have known Mike Parsons for more than 25 years both personally and professionally. He is one of the finest men I have ever known. Anyone commenting here who questions his honesty, integrity or his dedication to West Virginia and West Virginia University does not know Mike Parsons and your comments hold no credibility. WVU has lost an excellent employee and a great man.

  • wvrefugee

    So, why is it again we are paying people not to work and go away?? If he was horrible, fire him for "show cause". Looks like he wasn't so "awful" after all??? Not a fan of Parsons but Luck has got to stop these self inflicted wounds! Think the word is out yet about the threat of lawsuit= big payout????

    • EERfan

      Not a fan of Luck either, to be honest. Would hate to have him for a boss. Wish someone would pay him to leave. Any more Texas schools out there?

  • EERfan

    You either do what your boss tells you and go along or you're out. True in my job and in any other. Except I don't get paid well over a quarter million while I'm going out the door. No tears for Parsons.

    • PLLC

      If Parsons had not done everything he was asked to do, WVU could have terminated him for just cause. That obviously is not the case. Looks like Luck is paying for his silence. Parsons was one of the few honest ones left. Why else would the pay him to leave? What a shame that Luck has our Atheletic Dept. In such a mess.

      • cutty77

        Few Honest Ones left. The last DisHonest has left

        • Aaron

          I've read most of your comments and you seldom, if ever, share facts. Seems you make accusations frequently but never back them up.

          • Aaron

            Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It seems there are now two Aaron's posting.

          • Aaron W

            Hello Aaron, from this point I'll refer to myself as Aaron W so there should be no confusion

          • cutty77

            Other people don't liked to be draged in on this,they have moved on. Oliver has moved on WVU last Big Problem.

      • Alum

        I believe his contract was not going to be renewed. This is simply negotiated severance pay; this is very typical for any high level position.

        And a couple of folks lost yet another insider; I'm quite happy that old network is being dismantled.

        • PLLC

          Please explain why they would pay such a sum now instead of simply not renew his contract. Based on what is in the settlement agreement, Parsons obviously had a good case against Luck, so they pay to silence him.

          • Alum

            Severance is usually tied to years of service - do the math.

          • Aaron

            WVU's insurance company likely figured out how much it would have cost to defend the lawsuit, combined that with Parson's years of service and made negotiated a settlement.

      • Just wait

        If he is such a honest man, why is he taking a payoff like most of you are saying this is? Such a man of integrity and honesty would get the truth out, not take a payday...

        • FWP

          Knowing Mike Parsons as I do, I suggest he would rather not drag WVU through any more mud than they've already imposed upon themselves. Plus, he doesn't have deep pockets like WVU and he knows that the only people who win in these type of situations are the lawyers. Anyone who questions his motives does not know Mike Parsons.