MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- If things go as planned for West Virginia University, a process to outsource the athletic department's media rights that has been discussed for at least five years could be finished by September.
Athletic Director Oliver Luck said Tuesday the school will post a request for proposal by the end of the month for its third-tier multimedia rights.
The consultant group contracted for assistance in September said WVU could have its partner by the end of the summer and then have about one year to prepare for the debut in the 2013-14 season.
"The overall goal in a perfect world is that you'd like to have a partner selected right around the time the football season is starting and then you've got plenty of time for starting up the following years," said David Johnston, a co-founder of Rockbridge Sports Group, which is advising WVU.
"We've started the process early enough where the university doesn't have to rush any phase of it - and the university should never be rushed in this process."
Johnston and co-founder Rich Klein worked most recently for CBS Collegiate Sports Properties and for eight years were part of a four-person senior management team that acquired, initiated and operated numerous multimedia arrangements WVU may seek to enter.
Johnston and Klein also worked closely with multimedia rights deals for LSU, Virginia, Maryland and Utah.
While they seek to do the same work with Rockbridge, they are prohibited from doing so with WVU because of the contract work.
"We initially provided the university, and specifically Oliver, a third-party evaluation of all of their rights - the marketing rights and the media rights - to give him a sense of how they're operating today," Johnston said.
"Oliver wanted an external evaluation not only to see how business is conducted today, but to determine if there could be another way of working with other firms or not. Now the university has decided to explore outside firms and outsourcing parts or all of their rights."
Rockbridge now will help WVU craft the RFP and then filter through the responses.
WVU, Michigan State and Illinois are the only schools in the six Bowl Championship Series conferences that manage their own rights, though Illinois is close to a deal to remove itself from that group.