The dismissal of a popular University of South Carolina radio host appears to be a colossal “failure to communicate” – although very few of the players involved in the drama seem interested in seeing the story told.
Mainstream media is done with it – not wanting to alienate its sources – while the threat of corporate litigation hangs heavy in the air.
Here’s what we know – popular USC men’s basketball and baseball play-by-play announcer Mike Morgan did not resign earlier this week, as was reported in the press.
Morgan was fired by ISP, the company that pays USC $9 million a year for the exclusive advertising, marketing and promotional rights to Gamecock sports.
According to multiple sources, the Winston Salem-based firm made its decision to fire Morgan exclusively on the recommendation of Liz McMillan, who manages the University’s sports promotions efforts.
McMillan’s alleged justification for firing Morgan?
That the announcer was involved in “major dispute” with a key USC advertiser over an invoice, and that the advertiser was threatening to pull its business over the disagreement.
Sources at the University have confirmed that this was the justification provided to them by McMillan, as well.
So is it true?
FITS has obtained emails showing that the “major advertiser” in question was Time Warner Cable, although based on these documents it appears that the nature of the dispute between Morgan and Time Warner appears to have been greatly – and perhaps intentionally – exaggerated.
In fact, the emails obtained by FITS show that the dispute that allegedly led to Morgan’s termination was over his personal cable bill, not any official University or Gamecock marketing business, as was suggested.
Specifically, the claim that Time Warner ever remotely considered pulling its contract with ISP – a contract which has been valued by some sources at nearly $150,000 a year – has been flatly rejected by Time Warner officials.
A source close to the top of the Time Warner food chain confirmed to FITS that the company never issued any ultimatum regarding Morgan, and that the company’s contract with ISP was never in jeopardy at any point during Morgan’s dispute over his cable bill.
Also of interest is a rumor that McMillan may have had a motive for seeing Morgan fired – specifically, his alleged whistle-blowing role in a now-defunct pyramid scam that entangled several Gamecock marketing “celebrities.”
Neither Morgan nor McMillan was not immediately available for comment, and University officials referred FITS questions regarding Morgan’s firing to ISP.
Chris Ferris, the executive at ISP who fired Morgan earlier this week, did not return calls seeking comment.
Stay tuned as we continue to work to get to the bottom of what happened here …