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Parsons pushed out

Metronews’ Allan Taylor reports that WVU and long-time Deputy Director of Athletics Mike Parsons are parting company, and it’s not an amicable separation.

Neither side is saying anything, but sources tell Metronews that Athletic Director Oliver Luck stripped Parsons of his responsibilities.  Parsons hired a lawyer and considered suing the University, but instead agreed to a settlement.

Apparently Parsons will be paid through June 30th.

Before you read more you need to know that I have a serious conflict of interest here.  Parsons and I have been friends for 35 years.  As executive producer of the now defunct Mountaineer Sports Network, he was my supervisor.

Additionally, our company is in a legal fight with the University over how the third tier media rights were allocated.

So stop here if you like, or read on for my perspective.  Your choice.

I often hear WVU leaders talk about service, the concept that life’s purpose is greater than the individual’s immediate desires.  That mission makes the University an engine for good.

For more than three decades, Mike Parsons made thousands of decisions, and I believe he always made the best interest of the University his top priority.  The temptations of selfishness and ego were supplanted by his rock solid allegiance to the Gold and Blue.

His tenure was marked by integrity, professionalism and dedication. His nights and weekends were spent at WVU sporting events, hundreds of them, helping make sure they ran smoothly.   Glad-handing was never his strong suit, and that cost him with some moneyed alums whose avocations include meddling in athletic department affairs.

Eventually, he ran afoul of Luck on the media rights issue.  His candid testimony about how the first bid process was mismanaged contributed to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s decision to order a do-over.

So doing the right thing means finding yourself squeezed out with, yes, a sizable check, but also a damaged reputation.  Is that the new order of the state’s flagship institution?  I always wanted to believe that WVU was better than that.

Parsons will land a job somewhere in athletics.  His credentials are strong enough to withstand WVU’s ham-handed treatment.  The larger question, however, is what about the reputation of WVU’s athletic department?


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