Pitt Sues Learfield IMG College Over Withheld Funds From Previous Deal
Pitt is suing Learfield IMG College, claiming that it has "intentionally withheld" in excess of $3.6M from the school, according to John McGonigal of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. In a suit filed Monday in federal court, Pitt alleges that Learfield IMG College is withholding "royalties and additional payments 'in retaliation for Pitt’s decision not to extend the term of the License Agreement'" it held previously with the company. Pitt and Learfield IMG College's deal "came to an end June 30 after a seven-year partnership." On March 13, Pitt AD Heather Lyke notified the company in writing of the department’s "decision not to extend," and on July 1, Pitt struck an agreement with JMI. The marketing firm "agreed to pay Pitt royalties for broadcast and publication rights, as well as compensation for game tickets and parking passes provided to IMG, on June 1 of every year the agreement was in effect." Learfield IMG also "agreed to pay Pitt additional funds for 'exceptional performance,'" according to the suit. In the court document, Pitt states that the football team reaching the '18 ACC Championship "entitles the department to an unspecified exceptional performance payment" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 7/17). A merger between Learfield and IMG College closed on Dec. 31 (THE DAILY).