WVU purchasing rules strictly prohibit Board of Governors members from having a financial interest in a university contract. However, there may be exceptions under the state Ethics Act, which outlines steps public officials can take to avoid conflicts, according to the university's purchasing regulations.
WVU officials would not say Wednesday whether Payne and Alvarez received formal advisory opinions -- or informal guidance -- from the state Ethics Commission about the media contract.
WVU has signed a "letter of intent" to award its third-tier media rights to Winston Salem, N.C.-based IMG College. The media rights cover some nonconference football and basketball games, nonrevenue sports, radio broadcast rights, coaches' shows, signage, online content and seatback sales.
IMG is expected to partner with West Virginia Media on the deal, but the two companies have yet to sign a formal agreement, Payne has said.
Raese's company, West Virginia Radio, has handled WVU football and men's basketball games for decades through a partnership with WVU-owned Mountaineer Sports Network, which now holds the media rights.
West Virginia Radio was one of nine companies that bid on the latest media rights contract.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.