The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

December 10, 2013

FURFARI COLUMN- IMG could still be seen as controversial

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University is in its first year of partnership with IMG College for at least partial media rights.

As you may know, that agreement in a 12-year contract has resulted in a lawsuit against WVU by the West Virginia Radio Corp. that has yet to be settled.

The WVRC in this lawsuit named the WVU Board of Governors collectively and some members individually: President James Clements, who is now heading to Clemson University, and Athletic Director Oliver Luck, who is still being paid about $700,000 a year, among others.

The partnership with IMG College is paying the university slightly more than $6 million annually than it previously had been receiving.

As far as radio coverage, WVU had received some 70 years of excellent and high profile exposure from the longtime provider originated by Greer Industries, now WVRC, still part of Greer Industries.

Yet Morgantown’s radio affiliate WAJR, whose signal carries as far as the Greater Pittsburgh area, was reportedly deprived of carrying broadcasts of WVU football and basketball for 2013-14.

Why? That’s a question raised by many that is yet to be answered. Nobody at WVU has seen fit to offer answers. Some feel it could be out of spite because of the litigation between the WVRC and WVU officials.

I don’t know. I am just asking. But I am told that IMG College claims WAJR rejected an offer for broadcasts. But an attorney for WVRC denied that emphatically.

With that said, I challenge anyone to find another major university in the United States that does not have an AM radio station at its location carrying its game broadcasts.

Because WAJR was denied game broadcast rights, the owners decided that the broadcasts would not go on any of their other 40 radio stations in West Virginia towns and Cumberland, Md., area.

Obviously, this means that thousands of WVU alumni are unable to receive game broadcasts. What’s more, some viewers must pay extra to receive football telecasts on Fox Sports 1.

Before WVU joined the Big 12 Conference, a majority of its football and basketball games were televised by ESPN and ESPN2, and Mountaineer fans could tune in from coast to coast. That was when WVU was still a member of the Big East Conference.

However, if you have Internet service, perhaps you might want to thank IMG College for credit in establishing WVUSports.com.

Last Saturday afternoon you could have sat and watched the WVU women’s basketball team defeat Fairleigh Dickinson, 94-47, at the WVU Coliseum.

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