Sunday, February 10, 2008

Rich Rodriguez Saga Continues

I have tried not to write too much on the Rich Rodriguez saga out of reverence for some friends and because I moved on from his departure relatively quickly. Those who had trouble moving on should have moved on following the Fiesta Bowl victory and the building of what I would describe as a compentent football staff.

However, this story just won't go away and, while I have tried to stay neutral to some extent, the fault lies with Rich Rodriguez himself. After seeing Rich cry on television last night, I am more convinced than ever that he only cares about numero uno and could care less what happens to West Virginia University and the fans that supported his Mountaineers throughout his tenure, including that atrocious 3-8 Year One.

Rodriguez's failure to pay the $4 million dollars he promised the University in his latest contract is what is fueling the contempt many West Virginians have for him. Despite numerous promises of a bombshell against the university, Rodriguez has only been able to produce minor complaints and the contents of an alleged conversation with now President Mike Garrison. A mere conversation does not render his signed contract null and void. And while he may have some complaints about the appropriations of some of his booster funders, he has yet to show any evidence that the funds were improperly handled or managed.

Rodriguez comes off sounding like a 5-year old, running around the University yelling "Mine, mine" and crying to anyone who would listen any time someone would say "no". The University and boosters have every right to demand the $4 million dollars that Rodriguez agreed to pay if he failed to fulfill his contract. That is not disputable. Rodriguez has a right to defend himself but he has yet to show any reason that he should not be responsible for paying the $4 million. If he has a legitimate, legal basis for claiming fraud or breach, he should present that evidence and end this charade of innuendo.

Until a resolution is met, the animosity West Virginians feel toward Rodriguez will not subside. If Rodriguez can prove the University wronged him, the anger directed towards him will be moved to the appropriate person. But so far he has done nothing to prove anyone did anything wrong other than him. Death threats are wrong and I believe they probably stopped long ago (Rich has no evidence of any recent threats against him...) but the vitriol Mountaineer fans have against Rodriguez is understandable and will continue for as long as he continues to live up to his obligations and bad mouths the University in the process.

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