At present, there is no existing contract between WVU and West Virginia Radio Corp. It expired last month. And at present, West Virginia Radio Corp. is suing WVU's president and athletic director, its Foundation and its Board of Governors and six others. The company wants an injunction that would stall the Tier 3 process by excluding IMG College and West Virginia Media Holdings, the two that were going to be contracted originally.
What that delay could do is not only keep WVU from contracting a partner, but from having its familiar chain of radio stations. And many fear that might make it hard to hear the Mountaineers on the air in the fall.
There are fast ways out of this. WVU could seek to settle the suit, but that seems unlikely on many levels. The Mountaineers sure do like IMG and probably aren't comfortable with another company, but they would rather not give in to West Virginia Radio Corp. at this stage. The latter point would erase the possibility of renewing the contract with West Virginia Radio Corp., especially when one could argue part of the campaign waged by the company is for one last cash grab.
The lawsuit could also be dismissed, which would make this all moot, and we should remember there still is time to work with here.
It just seems like WVU has to start thinking about doing this on its own, if only just in case. That means going about the football season without West Virginia Radio Corp.'s eight stations - eight powerful stations - that dot the state. There are more than three dozen stations that are not West Virginia Radio Corp.'s that either remain football affiliates or have been before and could be contracted again for a short term.
So WVU could still have a list of affiliates as large or larger before. They won't be as powerful and might lack the width needed to reach the same audience, bit it might have to suffice. It might be the only choice.
That doesn't solve all the problems, though. A contract with West Virginia Radio Corp. means more than stations and on-air talent, and both could be casualties because WVU might not be able or willing to contract West Virginia Radio Corp. employees. It's about production and familiarity with the audience, and no matter the elements to this dispute, that company does a job WVU likes and peers respect.
The most critical concern for you and for WVU ought not to be in the quantity of stations and the audience, but the quality of the product.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.