Copyright 2014 Charleston Newspapers
Charleston Gazette (West Virginia)
MORGANTOWN - Mike Parsons will receive $325,000 as part of a settlement with West Virginia University, which essentially let go the long-time deputy athletic director last week.
In exchange, Parsons has agreed to drop any legal claims against the school. That is according to a copy of the settlement agreement between the two sides released Monday.
Parsons, 59, who had worked in the school's athletic department for almost 35 years, was forced out of the deputy athletic director's position he held under both former athletic director Ed Pastilong and current AD Oliver Luck. Parsons had been gradually stripped of all of his responsibilities over the course of the last six months and then reached a settlement to leave.
His last day was Jan. 27.
But while Parsons won't be working, he will be paid his salary through June 30 - his most recent contract was for $165,300 annually - as well as a $325,000 lump sum payment on July 1 that is, according to the agreement reached, "a settlement for all claims of any kind.''
The agreement also stipulates that Parsons will get a letter of reference "that will recognize his service to the university since 1979 and cite that his decision to leave the university is voluntary and not related to performance.''
But the agreement doesn't officially cut Parsons loose from working at the school. One section of the settlement says that Parsons will work from off campus "on a special assignment or assignments to be provided by Mr. Luck.''
In exchange for all of this Parsons, according to the document, "waives and releases any and all claims, known or unknown, arising on or before [Jan. 27] that he has or might have against Oliver Luck, the WVU Board of Governors, West Virginia University [and all related parties].'' The agreement goes on to stipulate just about any known matter that could possibly be litigated.
It also includes a gag order prohibiting either party - Parsons or the university - from making disparaging comments about the other or commenting in any way on the agreement.
The agreement acknowledges that Parsons had "raised various allegations and legal claims against the university and Mr. Luck.'' It also stipulates that the school "denies all such claims past and present.''
What isn't specifically covered in the agreement is the pending litigation between WVU and the West Virginia Radio Corp. Parsons was closely tied with WVRC during much of his tenure at WVU because one of his responsibilities was as essentially the CEO of the Mountaineer Sports Network. As such, Parsons was always thought to be a proponent of keeping MSN in house, but Luck eventually outsourced those rights to IMG College. That was also thought to be a key part of any friction between Parsons and Luck.
When the bid process for those rights was exposed as shoddy - and at least as far as WVRC is concerned, illegal - Parsons had a front-row seat to at least some of it. WVRC could well call him to testify should the suit ever make its way to court.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.