CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The announcement hit around 12:15 p.m.On Thursday, West Virginia University officials sent out a release spelling out its "broad partnership with IMG College designed to bring new national and corporate support and brand recognition to the University's athletic program."It's a 12-year agreement guaranteed to pay the school more than $80 million. (See story, Page 1A.) Insiders say the new, restructured agreement is as good as the first deal. WVU just kept some of the more lucrative rights, like those involving banks, hospitals and pouring right.Of course, there was a second announced agreement because of a lawsuit filed by West Virginia Radio Corp. against many, including the WVU board of governors and its chairman, Drew Payne; the WVU Foundation; WVU president Jim Clements; WVU athletic director Oliver Luck; West Virginia Media Holdings and its owner Bray Cary; and others. Attorney general Patrick Morrisey was involved and ordered a second bidding process.
A hornet's nest, it was, placed on a pile of the available cash.What that will mean to WVU fans is unclear. Certainly, IMG will work on a new radio network. Your local affiliate that carries WVU sports might change. Ditto the pre- and post-game shows.Tony Caridi told us there's a good likelihood he'll stay on as the Voice of the Mountaineers.The hornet's nest, though, was kicked again Thursday, and a thought crossed the mind:
I bet it's a good day to be Ed Pastilong.For years, Pastilong was in Luck's seat as athletic director at WVU. He dealt with moves and hirings and issues.On Thursday, though, the retired Pastilong was heading toward a sporting shop to prepare for a fly-fishing trip. The hornets have been replaced by gnats along a river."I've been fishing," Pastilong said. "I've been going to about a dozen of my grandkids' ballgames a week. And I've been working part-time [fundraising] for West Liberty.
"Those three things keep me busy. Then I'm taking a typical West Virginia vacation to Myrtle Beach."Pastilong, who still lives in Morgantown with wife Mona, follows his four grandsons. "Typical grandparents," he said. "Nothing to do. At the end of the day, nothing gets done."Still, Pastilong used to have a dog in the media rights fight.
"I can recall several years ago going before [the WVU] board of governors," he said. "I explained our position with West Virginia Radio."It was a very detailed discussion. At the end of the meeting it was decided we should continue as such."He had no comment on the move to IMG."I don't know all the particulars," Pastilong said. "I've been away from it, so I can't comment. I will say this, though: Through my years, and through those of Fred Schaus, Dick Martin, Leland Byrd and Red Brown, working with Jack Fleming and Woody O'Hara, we've had a very good relationship with West Virginia Radio. It proved beneficial to West Virginia."On this [agreement], though, I can't render an opinion. Like they say, the devil is in the details."A new day has certainly arrived at WVU. Athletic directors not only have to manage their school's sports, but also technology and, yes, lawsuits.
"I thought that line of work was exciting," Pastilong said. "I even hate to use the word 'work.' There were so many people, so many activities and so much competitiveness daily. There were conference and national issues. I miss that excitement."He then paused, thinking about the hornet's nest that's been WVU's media rights process."Then there are days," he concluded, "when you wake up, read about the issues, go back to bed and lay right back down."Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.