MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Business Court Judge Thomas Evans denied a motion by the West Virginia University Board of Governors and athletics director Oliver Luck to impose a gag order on West Virginia Radio Corporation, the Dominion Post and the MetroNews network regarding the ongoing third-tier media rights lawsuit.

WVU’s motion sought to prohibit the specific media outlets from “posting or publishing any editorial comment, open letters, or any other opinion pieces.” The motion also sought a gag order on Greer Industries executives John Raese and Bob Gwynne, as well as any other employee of the media companies owned by Greer.

MORE: Read Judge Evans’ denial of gag order.

Raese, a former U.S. Senate candidate and chairman of Greer Industries, has authored eight letters sent to the president of the university and/or to members of the Board of Governors.

In Tuesday’s ruling, Evans stated (with underlining emphasis included from the judge’s order):

“It may be said that his (Raese’s) purpose was solely or primarily to bring attention of the WVU president and the public what is perceived to be problems and shortcomings of the Defendants in the administration of the affairs of WVU, a public entity supported (in part at least) by Taxpayer funds. WVU BOG’s argues that publishing the letters in the Dominion Post show that Mr. Raese is attempting to prejudice potential jurors, but the court does not agree with this conclusion. It is just as likely Mr. Raese is attempting simply to inform the public about matters of public interest taking place in WVU’s Athletic department.”

WVU had complained, along with Luck, about what they characterized as personal attacks on the athletics director. Evans wrote in his decision:

“It is said that these letters amount to a personal character attack on Oliver Luck, and to an extent, the court agrees with this position. However, it must be said that the “attacks” largely relate to alleged incompetence and what appears to be an alleged lack of loyalty to WVU (by supposedly seeking employment elsewhere).”

Luck interviewed last fall for the vacant University of Texas athletics director’s job, which subsequently went to Arizona State University’s Steve Patterson.

WVU’s media rights were awarded to North Carolina-based IMG College in the summer of 2013 after a second round of bidding recommended by state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who found “significant errors and sloppiness” in the first bidding process overseen by Luck.

In denying the university’s gag order request, Evans pointed out Raese’s letters to the WVU administration likely prompted Morrisey’s investigation that uncovered the flawed bid process.

In late July, Evans denied West Virginia Radio’s motion to invalidate the university’s 12-year, $86.5 million contract with IMG. Documents show WVU had recently been earning between $5 million and $6 million annually from managing its rights in-house.

WVRC’s wide-ranging lawsuit, filed in June 2013, names 10 defendants in all, including then-WVU president Jim Clements, Luck, WVU Board of Governors chairman Drew Payne and WV Media president Bray Cary.

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  • Ole Sasquatch

    Why would the University want to crawl in shadow?

  • Bob Melphis

    This just in: Judge rules WVRC robber baron whining and pity party may continue. More at 11.;

  • takemetoemstar

    though I am a fan of OL, make no mistake there was collusion going on with OL, the University Athletic dept and the snake Bray Carey. Carey is on the board and had 'insider info.' and that is why the AG found problems with the bid process. Normally I would trust OL and think he is good for WVU, but when you crawl into bed with the Snake (BC) you will shed skin every time.

    • Rob G

      But you're a fan of Luck although you admit wrongdoing? WTF?

    • Aaron

      State law does not require a bid when something is sold. Luck could have easily negotiated any deal he wanted to has his position allowed. He chose to bid it out. His mistake was to limit the vote on who was awarded the bid to individuals with vested interest in the process. The process was corrected and the rightful outcome was arrived at. It's time to move on for all parties concerned.

      • Shadow

        Seems like a problem for the Legislature to solve. One of those loopholes that allows fraud to continue and continue, the WV Way.

  • 73mountie

    Follow the money (& the battle of the egos) trail...JR, give it and your company had it going good there for awhile. YOU had the monopoly of broadcasting WVU sports. Now your monopoly is toppled and you're clawing at what you think you deserve?! Give it up, you're an embarrassment to yourself and the state.

    • Rob G

      Exactly how many people does OL employ? Raese employs 1000s that invest in your community. Wake up!

  • Ole Sasquatch

    Let the sunshine in. Why would the University want to move in shadow?
    Raese is a man. Real man are not easily intimidated. Thank you, Raese.

  • cutty77

    Oliver knows what he's doing. He just poked fun at WVRC. Everybody is sick and tired of all this BS.Over the last 4 or 5 years WVRC has continued to throw dirt at WVU any way it could,but had no problem taking millions away from WVU. Oliver and The BOG stoped all of this,The Honest John showed his True Colors. It ain't blue and gold,its Green.

    • Joe

      OL knows what he is doing???? Really?? So he knows he has wrecked the best college sports network in the country (MSN)? He knew that he was hiring a head coach that would take our team from 9-3 three seasons in a row (which in his own words ('isn't good enough') to what we have now?? He knew he was going to try to leave to go to Texas? He knew he was going to rig the bid process so his good ole boys could get the bid? If you think OL has done a good job, you need help.

  • jay zoom

    thank you judge Evans for your ruling. Stick that up your pipe OLLIE. the sad part is you did not get the AD job at Texas and WV sports fans still have to put up with your dead butt. maybe someday some other school will track you down and WEST VIRGINIA SPORTS FANS will celebrate your EXIT. 4/3--8/9 THANKS OLLIE

    • rock solid

      @jay zoom: You have been an idiot ever since you were born. You still are an idiot and always will be an idiot. Please go away.

  • Lawyered Up

    I'm a season-ticket buyer who's sort of on the fence about this whole deal: Don't like seeing my alma mater called into court by JR, but feel like the school put itself there with some unethical behavior. A lawyer friend told me WVU's gag order was merely a stall tactic that had zero chance of going through. We'll see how it all plays out ...

    • Mitch

      @ Lawyered Up,

      "Stall tactic" for what? WVU won the case.

      • Wirerowe

        Both The attorney general and the judge determined that because this was not a purchase that the athletic department did not have to bid this out. The athletic department went ahead and botched the bidding process with alleged ethical issues. I think that the legal issue is was WVRC harmed by this process and how it was carried out. The law suit to my understanding has not been resolved and we must await the outcome. None but Oliver Luck knows if he was actively shopping or looking for a job. Everybody knows he interviewed for one.

      • Lawyered Up

        @Mitch: The first paragraph points out "the ongoing third-tier media rights lawsuit," so the case hasn't been decided. As I re-read the links, yes, WVRC's motion to dismiss the IMG contract was denied, but the lawsuit alleging unethical moves by Luck and some members of the BOG continues. My attorney friend says there will be depositions up next which should shed more light on what happened.

  • Mitch

    Luck did NOT ever at any time "seek employment elsewhere". He simply listened when another university called him to talk about their opening.
    Good god, how stupid and incompetent do you have to be to become a judge in W.Va.?

    • electro

      When you enter the interview process for a position you are seeking employment elsewhere. You don't fly half way across the country to listen for the heck of it.

    • WVU75

      How stupid do YOU have to be to think that Luck interviewing with the UT board for several hours the weekend of the TCU game wasn't seeking employment elsewhere? Would've doubled his salary at the richest athletic program in the nation. He would have taken the job in a heartbeat!

      • Aaron

        What is not being reported is that in addition to being an alumni of WVU, Luck is also an alumni of UT's law school. He entertained an offer from his former school so his taking the job in a heartbeat would have been him remaining loyal to a former school.

        Were he job shopping as JR has accused, he would have entertained an offer from Stanford 3 years ago when they actively sought him out. The accusation questioning Luck's loyalty to WVU is baseless.

      • The bookman

        When you have skills that are in high demand, and a history of performance at a high level, you never are in the position of seeking employment elsewhere. Most people will tell you who sit on interviewing committees that they can discern much about the caliber of the candidate by the degree with which the candidate interviews the committee. It's part of the process to determine fit, and it goes both ways.

        Luck's name was on a short list at Texas. Luck wasn't shopping around. He was listening and responding to Texas. Happily, it didn't work out.

        • Shadow

          Or "unhappily" as it may be viewed by some.

  • any major dude

    The pen may be mightier than the sword, but $$ trumps everything.

    As for loyalty, if somebody offered JR more money and a more prestigious position for essentially the same job, he'd be on it like quills on a porcupine.

  • Aaron

    I enjoy reading Metro news and think the contributors do a good job of covering the University despite the rift between WVRC and WVU but to be perfectly honest, of the 8 letters by JR, I've read all of 1 and part of another and while I agree that the bid process was initially flawed, at this point the letters make JR look petty. I think the best thing he can do is admit defeat and move forward in trying to negotiate a positive deal for WVRC to broadcast as many of WVU athletics as they can in as many markets as they can and stop with the fight he cannot win.

    • cutty77

      Its funny everybody keeps talking about poor ole JR on the Bid Process. Well untill Oliver Took over there was never a Bid Process for over 25 years. WVU took whatever Honest John decided to give them. TALK ABOUT FLAWED PROCESS.

      • eerfan

        cutty, (Drew) your comments are laughable. I have not read one comment speaking of "poor ole JR" as you state. Your comment saying "there was never a Bid Process for over 25 years" might be the very first correct and honest thing you have ever posted on this comment board. The reason…..BECAUSE THE UNIVERSITY OWNED THE RIGHTS, not JR or WVRC. You continue to try to convince the readers of these articles that WVRC owned the rights all these years which you know is NOT correct. WVU owned MSN and WVU kept all monies generated by MSN and WVRC received $0 from MSN.

  • Joe

    Like Twain said, "Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel".

    • WVU1

      Still holds true. Beating on the media gets you exactly this type of retaliation.

  • Jrizzle

    Whether you like raese or not, and whether you like his take on this or not, this is a matter of public interest. Wvu is still a state funded institution, and we tax paying citizens have a right to know how decisions are being made. It's already been proven that the decision making process was skewed by Luck. Regardless of how this turns out, this was the right decision by the judge. Glad to see that wvu didn't get preferential treatment. They get plenty the way that it is to begin with

  • Shadow

    What is it about "Freedom of Speech" the the WVU BOG and Luck don't understand?

    • Mitch

      @ Shadow,

      What is it about improperly influencing a court case that YOU don't understand? What do you think Gag Orders are for?

      • Shadow

        When you report facts......

  • 1smartone

    Will it ever end? One way or the other???

    • Yes!

      Yes. Yes it will. And you will be sad for what your University did.

      • No!

        So now william is Yes!.

      • 1smartone

        I doubt it. Because I don't care.