Whether you like it or not, the chatter about the Tier 3 contract, and specifically the apparent awarding of a subsection of the deal, is news. It is. It’s not bad new. Not inherently. It should be good news, so long as you’re in favor of modernization, increased income and enhanced production and exposure.
If you don’t agree with that — “It is.” — then we’re not going to get along in this space today and I invite you back later.
OK, good to see you.
First things first. I’m all for the introduction of the IMG College influence. I think it’s way too beneficial to ignore and I think it’s overdue. I don’t think WVU should, or will, back out of this deal or revert to the old way. I don’t even have a problem with West Virginia Media Holdings — that is, West Virginia Illustrated — being involved.
In fact, I’ve written before that it was possible the company would be. Whatever problems with production that company has would probably be improved because of IMG.
That said, a stink has been raised and John Raese is needlessly asking WVU to reconsider it’s arrangement with IMG because of the apparent side-deal with WVMH. But he is generating an awareness, for better or for worse.
At the root is Drew Payne, chair of the WVU Board of Governors, wielder of a big stick and most significantly board member for WVMH.
There’s a rather obvious question mark there. Again, not inherently bad, but nevertheless noteworthy and something that has to be explained.
Believe me, I know that at the present WVU and IMG can’t detail anything because nothing is finished. Please don’t waste anyone’s time with a tame “it isn’t finalized” defense. The point is not that there is silence now, but that when the time is proper, there has to be a question asked and an answer given about this.
And there can be no hiding from that. This is way to public of a situation for that.
I also don’t want to hear about intentions and motivations. I’m not concerned with why Mr. Raese is doing what he’s doing, though I think we’re all wise enough to answer that ourselves. I’m concerned with the fact that it happened and with what happens next.
WVU has said the BOG isn’t involved. That has to be explained because the RFP and the letter of intent both spell out and incorporate the seemingly significant role the BOG is to play in the process.
If it’s true that the BOG isn’t intimately involved — and, again, I’m inclined to believe that because I can’t believe WVU is so profoundly stupid to allow this very important business to be compromised by an obvious conflict of interest — that has to be detailed. I’ve been told WVU took measures to prevent a conflict of interest. I believe that, too, but the problem for the time being is in perception and not in reality.
There are more details coming out about this — Bob Huggins has a stake in WVMH, as do other BOG members; WVMH President Bray Cary wasn’t a bidder in the process, but sat in on IMG’s presentation to WVU, etc. — and WVU owes itself a better fate than this.
Declining and deferring requests doesn’t look good now. I know, I know. WVU can’t talk, but that silence is forcing the school to absorb punches here. When it’s permissible, it needs to counter punch.
This ought to be a clean and clear process that’s celebrated at the end for what it is — a profitable move into the present and the future of the multimedia realm of college athletics — and not for what it’s being made to be — a contrived manipulation of relationships.
Maybe it’s just me and maybe you disagree. I’d like to hear what you have to say because, to me, this has turned into a story about a story.