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W.Va. Radio demands WVU disqualify IMG as bidder

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia Radio Corp. won't bid on a contract for multimedia rights to some West Virginia University athletic events, but it still wants the previous winner -- North Carolina-based IMG College -- disqualified.

WVU officials declined comment Thursday.

WVU is rebidding the 12-year contract, because a review by the state attorney general's office found "significant errors and sloppiness'' in how a previous deal was crafted.

Five companies, including IMG and West Virginia Radio Corp., participated in a pre-bid conference call last month. The Dominion Post said the others were Nelligan Sports Marketing, Learfield Communications and FOX Run Group.

Proposals were due Wednesday. WVU plans to choose the best offer by Aug. 5 and announce the winner Aug. 23.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey concluded that two WVU Board of Governors members shouldn't have participated in reviewing the original set of bids but found "no evidence of intentional wrongdoing.''

Athletic Director Oliver Luck improperly provided confidential details of the proposed contract with IMG College to board chairman Drew Payne before its public release. Morrisey said Payne's subsequent comments about the financial terms of the deal were also improper.

WVU signed a tentative licensing agreement in January with IMG but later suspended talks after reports that Payne and board member David Alvarez had ties to a company angling to subcontract with IMG.

WVU's broadcast rights are currently handled by the university-operated Mountaineer Sports Network. It works closely with West Virginia Radio Corp., owned by Morgantown businessman John Raese.

Raese attorney Robert Gwynne said the 15-page protest filed Wednesday is the second in two months.

It claims allowing participation by either IMG or Charleston-based West Virginia Media Holdings -- a company Payne had a financial interest in -- effectively "turns a blind eye to the confirmed breaches of public trust and confidence."


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