CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- What if West Virginia University and its athletic director, Oliver Luck, could've skipped the competitive bidding process, awarded its Tier 3 multimedia rights and avoided the mess of the past few months?
That was an option, according to one revelation embedded in a 24-page report released by Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in his Capitol office Monday morning. A hefty binder provided to the media detailed "significant errors" and "sloppiness" in the bidding process, but no evidence of "intentional wrongdoing" in entering into negotiations - and eventually agreeing to a lucrative deal - with IMG College.
Morrisey outlined five findings in his report, and it's my opinion that Finding No. 1 is appropriately placed at the top of the list.
The conclusion: The multimedia rights contract is revenue generating and not required to be placed through a competitive RFP process under either the West Virginia Code or the West Virginia University Procurement Rules.
WVU followed through with the RFP because it wanted a healthy and transparent process.
Finding No. 1 revealed Oops No. 1 for WVU.
A string of missteps followed - and before I opine further, WVU erred plenty - but it's hard to fault decision-makers for wanting to go through a process because it's the right thing to do.
Now the process of WVU finding a multimedia rights partner will be restarted soon. It won't be the same long, drawn out process of the past 11 months. Bidders have already done the necessary homework.
The five-week review, triggered by a laundry list of complaints from John Raese, who owns W.Va. Radio Corp., was revealing but not damaging long term.
The initial winning bidder certainly seemed undeterred, according to Andrew Giangola, vice president of strategic communications at IMG College.
"The Attorney General's office report confirms that IMG College submitted the best proposal and is the best partner for representing West Virginia University's multimedia rights.
Giangola added, "We would be eager to immediately complete discussions with WVU athletics and begin serving WVU."