The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

July 12, 2013

University signs again with IMG College; Sanders starring in CFL

By Cam Huffman
Sports Editor

BECKLEY — After a re-bid process and months of mud slinging, it appears as though the final result will be the same.

West Virginia University announced Thursday a partnership with IMG College, which will become effective for the 2013-academic year. The 12-year agreement, which will pay WVU more than $80 million over 12 years, includes management of local game broadcasts and coaches’ shows for radio and television, publications such as media guides and schedules, digital platforms including social media and websites, corporate sponsorships, event promotions, game day hospitality, venue signage and scoreboards and advertising in athletic facilities.

“It was time for WVU athletics to grow our multimedia and sponsorship sales, especially with our recent move to the Big 12 Conference,” said WVU athletic director Oliver Luck in a release. “With the resources, services and proved track record that IMG College brings, WVU now has the opportunity to expand its revenue base by engaging new national sponsors while building our athletic and university brand. I’m extremely pleased with this move.”

WVU had originally announced a similar sponsorship in December, but allegations of improper bidding and a lawsuit from West Virginia Radio Corp., which previously broadcast WVU sporting events, led to an investigation by the state attorney general’s office. That office found there were some improprieties in the process and suggested a re-bid.

The final result, even after West Virginia Radio Corp. head John Raese asked a judge to stop WVU from re-awarding the contract, was unchanged.

IMG will set up a team based in Morgantown to handle all of the new responsibilities, and it will partner with West Virginia Media Holdings to develop television inventory, including coaches shows and other ancillary TV programming.

“West Virginia athletics, under the direction of Oliver Luck, has done a great job building its corporate partner program, and we’re thrilled to add our resources to expand on these efforts,” said Ben Sutton, president of IMG College. “West Virginia is one of the last major schools to handle multimedia and sponsorship sales in house. The university’s decision to entrust IMG to grow its sponsor and revenue base, while building the school brand, continues to validate IMG’s collegiate services and burgeoning national marketing platform.”

More than 90 colleges and universities are affiliated with IMG College, including Baylor, Kansas, TCU and Texas in the Big 12.

No announcement has been made about the futures or radio personalities like WVU play-by-play voice Tony Caridi.

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Former WVU wide receiver Jock Sanders is making a splash in the Canadian Football League. He was named one of four Gibson’s Finest Players of the Week for Week 2 of the 2013 CFL season.

Sanders, a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, was honored for his special teams work against the Calgary Stampeders in a 36-21 Roughriders victory. Sanders returned four kickoffs for 100 yards and six punts for 74 yards.

After leaving WVU at the conclusion of the 2010 season with 1,980 career receiving yards and 622 career rushing yards, Sanders, who left as the Mountaineers’ all-time leading receiver with 206 catches, was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after going undrafted. He was waived a month later.

He joined the Roughriders in May of 2012, and last season he carried the ball 20 times for 165 yards, caught 28 passes for 228 yards, returned 22 punts for 243 yards and returned 16 kickoffs for 339 yards. -------

Former WVU pitcher David Carpenter is starting to make a splash at the big league level. The Fairmont native, who made his Major League debut with the Houston Astros in 2011, is now a member of the Atlanta Braves and is seeing more and more action in a rebuilt bullpen.

After picking up just one MLB win in his first 67 appearances, Carpenter has won two since June 17 for the Braves, the latest coming on Monday.

The 27-year-old has given up just seven hits and two runs in 8 1/3 innings in July and has lowered his ERA to 1.93. He has 31 strikeouts on the season, compared to 13 walks.

— E-mail: chuffman@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.