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Puskar Stadium will go through minor decorative changes

MORGANTOWN - West Virginia University is ready to close the book on the shades of gray at Milan Puskar Stadium.

In a Request for Bids posted Tuesday, WVU seeks ways to liven up the barren walls that surround the playing field at the football stadium. The request asks that bidders be ready to provide all the labor, material, equipment, supplies and services required to install a "digitally printed graphic vinyl banner with aluminum frame."

The signs would be used on the walls behind both sidelines as well as the wall below where the marching band sits in the North end zone and the wall in the South end zone.

"We're going to kind of decorate the stadium a little bit with some new things, some new signage - and not advertising signage necessarily," said WVU Deputy Director of Athletics Mike Parsons. "We're talking mostly about the signage when you look at the stadium as a whole to add some color to the walls of the stadium and other places as well."

Parsons said the most recent request is not related to last month's Request for Proposals for WVU's Tier 3 sponsorship and media rights. Within that RFP is a specific section for "Signage" that covers "Permanent and LED, TV viewable, In-bowl/arena, Video board, Concourse."

That, Parsons said, is designed to accommodate advertising. Tuesday's RFB "is just for the decorations," Parsons said.

The atmosphere inside the stadium, including the gray walls and the appearance they provide on television, has been targeted by WVU coaches going back to Rich Rodriguez. It's been addressed in recent years with the scoreboard and video board above the South end zone, the ribbon boards that circle the stadium and most recently with the enhanced sound system for Dana Holgorsen's first season.

Holgorsen told the Charleston Daily Mail last month he wanted to change the gray walls, but that he preferred to let others worry about that, namely Athletic Director Oliver Luck, who has had a series of conversations with Holgorsen about making changes to the stadium.

"That's administrative and I know Oliver cares about that," Holgorsen said. "He's working on that. It doesn't affect me. Everything that I do has everything to do with players and their day-to-day development. Having suites or a bigger press box, all of that doesn't interest me."

There will be a mandatory pre-bid conference at 1:30 p.m. Monday at the stadium. The sealed bids must be received by 3 p.m. July 24.  

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Parsons said WVU knows no more than anyone else about kickoff times for football games in the 2012 season.

"Nothing is set yet," he said. "We're still working on all of it."

Part of WVU's uncertainty comes from dealing with a new conference and Parsons said business with the Big 12 is done differently than it was with the Big East.

"I think the main reason is the fact we still have some loose ends on this TV deal," Parsons said. "That's still out there waiting to be finalized and that's kind of delayed it a little bit. Normally we know our September game times by now."

Parsons said WVU hopes to have the September times "fairly soon," though that may have to come after the television contract is signed - and that is reportedly hung up because the television partners can't agree on who gets what games.

All of WVU's remaining games will be subject to the 12-day window the television networks can use to pick games and kickoff times.

"That will be just like it's been done in the past," he said.

Even with the ESPN/Fox TV contract agreed to, but still unsigned, and the details unknown, Parsons said the Mountaineers will be just as visible, and perhaps even more, now that they're in the Big 12.

The ESPN side of the deal includes ABC, ESPN and ESPN2, while the Fox side is Fox Sports Net (FSN), which locally would be Root Sports.

"With all the new things in the works and still needing to be finalized, it could expand out to cover even more than that," Parsons said. "You may see more broadcast networks, more cable networks involved. Either way, there certainly is not going to be any problems with the number of games on the air. They'll all be televised, but it may be a matter of being on a different channel than you're used to."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.


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