MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- A judge has denied a motion by West Virginia Radio Corp. to reset West Virginia University's bidding process over a media rights contract for sporting events.
Judge Thomas Evans in Morgantown on Monday declined West Virginia Radio's bid for a preliminary injunction, citing the likelihood of significant financial harm to the university.
Evans also cited the public interest because WVU's football team plays its first game on Saturday. The university had argued it would be nearly impossible and very expensive to get a new media rights partner in time.
West Virginia Radio wants to stop WVU from finalizing a 12-year contract with North Carolina-based IMG College.
Earlier Monday, Evans rejected a request by the WVU board of governors, the WVU Foundation and other parties to dismiss the lawsuit.
Among other things, the motions were based on arguments that West Virginia Radio had failed to make a case for fraud and a violation of public procurement laws. Evans ruled these are important public policy matters and need to be heard. Evans did not rule on the merits of the case.
The network wants Evans to stop WVU from finalizing a 12-year contract with North Carolina-based IMG College that guarantees the university at least $86.5 million in revenue.
West Virginia Radio also wants Evans to block the deal and to order the WVU contract be rebid a third time, with IMG and West Virginia Media Holdings disbarred from the process. West Virginia Media Holdings, run by Bray Cary, is an IMG subcontractor and a competing network of news organizations.
West Virginia Radio attorney Frank Simmerman complained about his ability to wage an effective case because WVU refused from February until last Thursday to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests for procurement and purchasing documents. When it did, the university turned over dozens of redacted pages without explanation.
Among other things, Simmerman wants Evans to order those documents released so he can investigate WVU's relationship with IMG.
"We didn't get a whole loaf of bread," Simmerman said. "We got pieces."