The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


April 16, 2013

Do over

Like it or not, athletics at colleges and universities has developed into big business. Multimillion-dollar cash cows at some places, financial hardships at others.

In Morgantown, West Virginia University’s athletic department has long prided itself on being self-sufficient and until the recent move to the Big 12 conference, a healthy profit had been turned every year for quite some time.

Switching from the Big East to the Big 12 has been a costly proposition; however, university officials knew that going in.

There has been plenty of grumbling about it in recent months and now a botched bidding process has given detractors plenty of fuel to unleash more criticism at WVU.

That kind of reaction happens when the two major revenue-producing sports, football and men’s basketball, have lackluster years. Everybody wants a winner, every year. It wasn’t the best of times for those two programs in 2012-13, so the floodgates are open.

Almost as if on cue during the recent rough patch for the athletic department came what turned out to be a controversial bidding process for media rights to certain events.

Cutting right to the quick, after a few months of controversy that included allegations of impropriety, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Monday in Charleston that after his office investigated, he has determined the process was flawed, several errors were made and it was sloppy work in general. In the same breath, Morrisey also said there was “no intent of intentional wrongdoing.”

WVU quickly responded by indicating that the contract will be rebid and President Jim Clements indicated that “starting over is simply the right thing to do.”

Yes, it is.

Clements went on to thank the attorney general for his recommendations and findings and assured that WVU would be proactive in fixing the mistakes.

Now we suspect that we haven’t heard the last of this situation; however, getting it right no matter what the circumstances has to be the final result.

Plenty of time and money has been wasted on this, something WVU’s athletic program can’t afford as the budgets are now running in the red.

Lessons must be learned, and those responsible for procurement deals, especially ones of the multimillion dollar variety, need to be held accountable.

More than a few people on the state payroll at WVU are making hefty salaries. With those high-paying jobs comes the expectation of adequately performing their work duties.

Gaffes like this need to be corrected and shouldn’t be tolerated moving forward.

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