IMG is expected to partner with West Virginia Media on the deal. The Charleston-based firm already handles weekly shows for WVU head football coach Dana Holgorsen and men's head basketball coach Bob Huggins, who's also an investor in West Virginia Media, according to a company investor list obtained by the Gazette-Mail.
Other investors include WVU Board of Governors member Dave Alvarez, and WVU Foundation board members Marty Becker, Stuart Bloch, Bob McMillan and Tom Potter.
"There's still no agreement yet," said Payne, who has loaned West Virginia Media money in past years and now has a stake of "less than $500,000" in the media firm.
West Virginia Media President Bray Cary has declined to comment, but sources have said Cary attended IMG's presentation to the six-member panel that reviewed bids from nine companies that competed for the media rights package.
Raese's company was an unsuccessful bidder.
WVU expects to finalize its agreement with IMG and West Virginia Media in the coming weeks. The contract would start July 1.
According to Raese's letter to Clements, West Virginia Radio Corp. has been associated with WVU for 40 years. The company broadcasts WVU sports on 62 affiliate radio stations.
In the letter, Raese said his company remains in the "forefront of the ever-changing landscape of media rights in college athletics.
"Given our involvement in this sector, we are particularly concerned with the bid process and directions this process is taking WVU," Raese wrote to Clements.
"Our concern is further heightened by the fact that even though we have been an active business partner over many years . . . we have never been consulted on the direction which WVU is moving."
Raese questioned WVU's tentative decision to enter into a 12-year deal with IMG, considering that Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference schools are now reacquiring the same type of media rights that WVU plans to give away.
Raese asked if WVU could afford to buy back its media rights, if the Big 12 Conference -- like the SEC and Pac-12 -- requires its members to do so.
"To sign those rights away for 12 years could cost somebody a lot of money," Raese's lawyer, Gwynne, said. "It's going to be very expensive to get those rights back."
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.