EDITORIAL: WV Radio/WVU Trial May Start Slow But Pick Up Speed

HNN Staff
John R. Raese
John R. Raese

The decision this week by Jackson County Circuit Judge Tom Evans to allow John Raese's WV Radio Corporation to continue its action against WVU on the Tier Three broadcast rights issue is big news, whether most West Virginians are paying attention to it or not.

Judge Evans' decision clears the way for a trial in Monongalia County that could become the biggest headache for WVU since the Heather Manchin Bresch faux MBA degree affair.  Why?

Two reasons spring to mind.  First, if WV Radio would manage to prove its allegations of corrupt bidding practices by WVU, what a holy mess for the state's land grant university.  Plus let's not forget IMG, the national company whose bid secured WVU's Tier Three broadcast rights this season and WV Media, Bray Cary's media organization, which is assisting IMG. 

WVU would have to scrap its contract with IMG and start over, with a great loss of face both statewide and nationally.

However, there is a second reason for WVU administrators to stock up on huge boxes of Bayer and Tylenol.  Even if Raese and company fail to make their case for annulling the new marriage between WVU and IMG, the discovery phase involving the WVU Foundation's past relationship with Bray Cary and WV Media could become something of a spectacle.

If WV Radio can prove that WVU has had a historic bias in favor of WV Media that goes far beyond the norm, that is when it starts to get interesting.  WVU Foundation donors from around the country may start to have some questions themselves resulting from any significant revelations, courtesy of WV Radio. 

That, in turn, could hurt WVU's next fundraising drive in a serious way.

All of this is predicated on WV Radio showing real and solid evidence to back up their claims.  This is high stakes poker, and, if WV Radio doesn't come through, they could easily look like they are simply chewing on sour grapes at having lost the state's largest sports broadcast contract.

However, WV Radio now has a legitimate forum and what appears to be an openminded judge in Tom Evans to put forward their best case.

The truth is that the WVU Foundation, like many higher education foundations, has always managed to keep a substantial amount of its affairs away from public view.  John Raese may be the only person in our lifetime who has the ability, money, and audacity to dare to pick the WVU Foundation's lock and reveal its secrets. 

That might be worth knowing if real shenanigans are being hidden from public view.

Meanwhile, WVU is putting its gameplan together and not just in the courts.  Bill Nevin, who has been working at WVU for several years in public relations, formerly worked for Raese's Metronews Radio Network.  Nevin has recently been named Vice President for Communications at, guess where: the WVU Foundation.

Every coach likes to put in players who have knowledge of the other side. 

This should be a good game to watch all season long in Morgantown.

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