I’ll spare you the details of a South American couple walking off with my roller board at lunch at IAH yesterday, or the subsequent frantic search, or the joyous moment when I learned my bag had been located, or the intense encounter with IAH police, or the scene with the K9 sniffing my bag, or the likelihood I was added to a watch list. Let’s instead focus on the really interesting stuff from yesterday.
It began innocently enough with a tip in the morning.
Have heard today West Virginia Radio Corp. and IMG were negotiating, but that it’s broken down — perhaps permanently.
— Mike Casazza (@mikecasazza) July 24, 2013
Not really a surprise, though, call me crazy, I was kind of hoping they’d work something out because that would be best for the fans who rely on the radio. Yeah, it has to work for IMG and it has to work for WVRC. but, man, the people have no voice in this matter and it bugs me a little that they’re going to have their ears taken, too.
Side-effects? We’ve been over this before. It’s happening now. If they can’t get back at the table and work something out — and I’m told that’s not going to happen — then IMG has to hustle, or more accurately, hustle beyond the current hustle.
Then things got a little bit more interesting …
Separate sources telling @jaredwv and I that IMG is working to acquire Tony Caridi and keep him as WVU’s play-by-play guy. Choice is his.
— Mike Casazza (@mikecasazza) July 24, 2013
— Jared Hunt (@jaredwv) July 24, 2013
I’ll be honest with you: Up until now, I’ve been uncomfortable and disinterested in reporting on Caridi. I’ve felt like it’s none of my business, but I’ve also wondered if, you know, it was that big of a deal.
Things have developed to where it’s part of the story now, and I can’t rightfully ignore the volume of the people who do care about Caridi. So now we’re here and this intel came from opposite ends of the information spectrum, and in separate time zones, even. But IMG is throwing a big stone into the pond here because it needs and wants Caridi. Which is smart. As I understand things, to call him the play-by-play guy, or even the voice, may be too restrictive. He’d be more like the face and have a lot of responsibilities across the IMG/WVU platform. His persona would be the one with which associates WVU and IMG. And it’s an extreme luxury when you do do this with someone who is so established and revered, to say nothing of extraordinarily qualified.
I also now think it’s probably misleading to say the choice is his, or at least solely his. There are two sides here and, without getting into too much of the detail that I am certainly not extraordinarily qualified to speak on, there are some arrangements that Caridi may want to continue in the future. If IMG really wants Caridi, it may have to agree to some of those. Dismissing all of that, it’s at least fair to say that IMG has a choice to do what it can to get Caridi.
The largest point, though, is that IMG wants Caridi and Caridi has a decision to make soon.
And all of that preceded the big development of the day: WVU finally released to the Charleston Daily Mail the contract with IMG College. If you’re a visual l earner, have a look at this chart, but pinch-hitter Jared Hunt rounded the bases yesterday and highlighted all the important aspects.
According to the contract, IMG will pay WVU a base guaranteed rights fee, along with additional funds earmarked for capital improvements, and ticket and football game suite stipends. The rights fee and other stipend payments will gradually increase over the life of the plan.
During the first year, IMG will pay a guaranteed rights fee of $4 million. That fee will increase to $7.3 million by the 2024-2025 sports season.
Including the additional capital improvement and stipend payments, WVU’s annual guaranteed payout from IMG will increase from $4.1 million during the first year of the contract to nearly $8.3 million by the final year.
The university will also receive a $5 million signing bonus under the plan, $3 million of which will be paid by no later than June 16, 2014, with the rest to be paid by June 15, 2015.
Understanding this is not for everyone, I’ll end it here, but if you’re into the Tier 3 saga, or if you’re interested in the finances and how WVU will come to gain its wealth, all the detail you need is in that story.