Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rich Rodriguez: From Hire Me to Help Me!

On December 17, 2007, Rich Rodriguez was announced by Michigan as its 18th head coach in the Wolverine's storied football history. He came to Michigan from his alma mater of West Virginia University where he spent the previous seven years as their head coach. Following his defection to Ann Arbor, West Virginia filed a $4 million lawsuit against its former coach to collect on a buyout clause in his WVU contract. Just this week, Rodriguez agreed to pay the $4 million buyout and put an end to all the legal distractions of the lawsuit, which had been set for trial this fall. Well, he didn't really agree to pay the entire $4 mil. He negotiated to pay $1.5 million in three $500,000 annual installments. UM Athletics is throwing in the other $2.5 million, as well as all the coach's attorney and legal fees. The timing of the agreement is very intriguing in its on right. Rodriguez was approaching a court ordered disclosure deadline in which he would have to reveal if anyone at Michigan had agreed to pay West Virginia on his behalf. The settlement also eliminates another lawsuit filed by WVU which would have ordered Michigan AD Bill Martin and president Mary Sue Coleman to testify. Also, West Virginia recently obtained a subpoena for records from Rodriguez's financial advisor. This mess has more ingredients than an Emeril Live cooking show! What do you say we throw in a bit of irony? The coach claimed he signed his WVU contract under pressure from board members concerning the buyout clause. But yet he turns around and signs his Michigan contract with a very similar $4 million clause in it. Not to worry Mr. Rodriguez. If that clause ever becomes an issue again, I'm quite sure the next school will pay ay least 60% of it just as the Wolverines did. But next time , I wouldn't get the school president involved with a subpoena. I've got a feeling that could have been the reason for your speedy settlement offer and agreement. All things considered, I'd say you came out of this "smelling like a rose". Speaking of which, it wouldn't be a bad idea if you took your new team to the bowl name for that fragrant flower. And the sooner the better. Oh yea, one more thing. It might not hurt to beat Ohio State for a change!

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