So we did some back-and-forth last week about the WVU-IMG College partnership that I think and hope was useful for all of us. I know I went back to satisfy my own curiosity after encountering some things I didn’t know and discovering other things I wanted to understand a little better … so, thanks.
Anyhow, this was big news last week — the Tier 3 deal, not the FAQ — and there was a lot of information out there, but nothing presented in an official capacity. Conjecture and speculation tend to rub some people the wrong way and one item in particular had some people running warm in in late January.
However, an IMG spokesman said the claim that the company was trying to shore up Marshall advertising was not true.
“IMG College has a longstanding and highly productive 15-year relationship with Marshall, which continues to perform well,” said Andrew Giangola, vice president for strategic communications.
“Any assertion of any school subsidizing Marshall is completely incorrect and unfair to the school,” Giangola said.
How incorrect and unfair? Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick picked up on all this and opened his books. Not pleased by the assertion his school had underperformed for IMG College, Hamrick detailed what he called a “very profitable” relationship for client and customer.
Hamrick said Marshall and IMG renegotiated their contract about three years ago, which netted Marshall about $700,000 more per year. Marshall used that money for new scoreboards, video boards and other improvements at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. He added that, in the last three years, Marshall’s client base has expanded 20 to 30 percent.
“For someone to infer that Marshall’s relationship needs to be subsidized by some other property is totally wrong, false and inaccurate,” Hamrick added. “I’m very disappointed it was presented that way. All they had to do was pick the phone up and call me.”
And here’s the weird part: Don’t be surprised if IMG College is running its WVU and Marshall operations out of the same shop in, say, Charleston. And don’t be surprised if the two schools are tied together in some arrangements. That’s business.
“Subsidizing” is a strong, particular and, to many, offensive word. There are other and more appropriate words out there, words that aren’t “squeeze,” but could convey a similar meaning.