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The end of the whole mess
July 10, 2008 - Jody Murphy
It's over. It's finally over.
The bad aftertaste of Rich Rodriguez's departure from West Virginia and West Virginia University finally reached a conclusion late Tuesday night with the coach, his agent and his lawyer agreeing to do what should have been done in the first place; pay the $4 million buy-out clause.
This isn't about bitterness in R-Rod leaving for the University of Michigan.
Someone wants to better themselves, great! To be honest it'd be hard to blame anyone for wanting a chance to coach football at storied Michigan.
This is about the basic premise of honoring a commitment - in this case a signed contract.
Rodriguez signed a contract with a $4 million, buy-out clause. Then when he left, he didn't want to pay.
That's not fair and it wasn't right.
It wasn't fair to former WVU basketball coach John Beilein, who left for UM, and has written at least one six-figure check to WVU to help pay a portion of his buy-out clause.
And it wasn't fair to WVU and its fans, who put a ton of faith in Rodiguez, as a coach and a man.
The guy was given the keys to kingdom. He was bestowed favored son status by the Mountaineers' legion of fans, including the governor.
When he signed that big contract extension, he was - as anyone who signs a contract is - expected to honor it.
When he chose to fight it, WVU did what anyone in its situation should have done; make Rodriguez uphold the terms of his contract. It took some arm-twisting, some of it coming from the UM President, to finally get the Rodriguez camp to capitulate and honor the terms of the contract, but it happended.
The whole ordeal left a very bad aftertaste.
Rodriguez flung a lot of crap at the state, his former assistant coaches, including Bill Stewart, and the University. Because of it there will be a hell of a lot more OSU fans in the Mountain State come Nov. 22 (the annual OSU-UM game).
The ordeal has also added to some already sour feelings regarding Rodriguez's arrvial in Ann Arbor. See the column link.
Perhaps the most important thing in all of this is WVU's success in getting the Rodriguez camp to pony up. Maybe it will set a precedent for other schools and high-priced coaches; serving notice coaches will have to honor their contracts' buy-out clauses.
I'm glad the whole ordeal is finally over. I doubt I'm alone.
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