Friday, August 13, 2010


It has always been sort of accepted gospel that Tulane erred in not offering its top football job to Rich Rodriguez.

But I wonder. His record on pure on-field success gets increasingly muddied- that 3-13 Big Ten mark ain’t too good people. His off field issues are increasingly problematic as well. Here is a guy whose departure from West Virginia merits an entire Wiki entry!
The announcement of his departure came just four months after Rodriguez last renegotiated his contract with West Virginia, and was made despite his stated long-term commitment to the Mountaineers. The contract included a $4 million buyout if he left WVU within one year of the August 2007 signing date....

On December 27, 2007, West Virginia University filed a motion for declaratory judgment in Monongalia County Circuit Court, asking the court to find that Rodriguez's contract with the University was valid, that WVU had not breached that contract, and that Rodriguez had breached it. Subsequently, on January 18, 2008, WVU added a count of breach of contract after Rodriguez allegedly failed to pay the first installment of the $4 million liquidated damages clause...

Rodriguez and WVU agreed to settle the lawsuit. The terms of the settlement stated that the University of Michigan would pay $2.5 million of the settlement. Rodriguez is required to pay WVU the remaining $1.5 million in three installments of $500,000 each, spread over three years starting in January, 2010.
The mixed on-field record at West Virginia and Michigan has to make one wonder about the impact at Tulane- a place that has real competitive problems (rather than lavish amenities) and looking, at the time, at looming “issues”: the "shut football down" review and Katrina. Let’s explore with today’s Detroit News:
The odds don't look good. The troubling news never stops. New athletic director David Brandon publicly and repeatedly supports his coach, but adds this season is "huge" for the future of Michigan football. Of course, that means it's huge for the future of Rodriguez.

Michigan faces five major violations, and now there are similar allegations stemming from Rodriguez's tenure at West Virginia.
That is the rub. The NCAA feels they have identified a pattern of malfeasance started, exported and replicated. Patterns of misbehavior are bad.

With RichRod’s lapses, would you have wanted him the face of Tulane during a review or Katrina? Big risk. Those were eight years of trouble. Football at Tulane might not have survived a trial for “an atmosphere of lack of institutional control”. There were a myriad of enemies of the program out in force looking for a catalyst.

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