Two Sides, Different Stories

Two Sides, Different Stories

Controversy over the reasons for the departure of Rich Rodriguez continued to heat up on Tuesday with the release of a statement from the West Virginia Board of Governors and comments, along with threatened action, from a Rich Rodriguez supporter.

The Board of Governor's statement (see text below) outlined in general terms what West Virginia University had done in response to the demands of head coach Rich Rodriguez. The list is an extensive one.

However, Kendrick, in comments to ESPN, maintained that West Virginia came up far short in meeting promises that it reportedly made to Rodriguez. That failure, according to Kendrick, is grounds for default on the $4 million dollar buyout in his contract.

Some of those items include allowing players to keep textbooks from classes for resale, waiving of a $5 charge for high school coaches to attend West Virginia games, contorl of sideline passes, the authority to allocate funds from the 1100 Club (funds that were earmarked solely to support football recruiting), increased pay for assistant coaches, and authority to hire more graduate assistants and a recruiting coordinator.

It was not clear as to whether or not these demands and promises were part of Rodriguez' formal contract.

The request to allocate some funds from the 1100 Clbu for "coaches" would seem to be outside the bounds of the stated purpose of the Club, which is to help pay for the cost of travel to conduct recruiting, as well as other expenses involved with the process.

Additionally, while Kendrick noted that Rodriguez "had to negotiate for a sideline pass for his wife, Rita" it should be noted that Mrs. Rodriguez routinely watched games from a suite in the stadium. Numerous ex-players, boosters and others received sideline passes for games, some of which were distributed by members of the football staff.

These statements will likely be just the opening salvo in what promises to be a long, and perhaps costly, battle between Rodriguez and his former employer over the buyout.


BOARD OF GOVERNOR'S STATEMENT

"WVU appreciates donors to its academic and athletic programs. The University and the Board listen to their suggestions, as we listen to students, alumni, faculty and staff. People who are successful in other areas of life often have important insights into how we operate, how we are perceived, and how we can improve the University.

At the end of the day, the University is governed by its Board and its President, and the people they appoint to positions of responsibility. Making donations to a public university does not entitle anyone to dictate policy or personnel.

The Board has a lot of confidence in how Ed Pastilong and Mike Garrison are handling this coaching change. They've taken a responsible approach to this throughout – and really offered Coach Rodriguez and the team a lot of support in a very difficult time for the team. We're heard a lot of support from fans, from alumni, and from donors – large and small – about how the University is handling this.

WVU went to the ends of the earth to keep the coach here – and clearly, some of our major donors assisted the school in that effort. ? His salary was increased by 70 percent. ? His assistants salaries were increased ? We built a $2 million academic center for the team ? We have started construction on a $6 million locker room renovation

There were some very minor issues that he raised with the administration – and people were working on them. I think you will agree that the things that are being talked about are pretty minor in comparison to what has been done already.

But he clearly was looking for excuse to leave—he looked last year, and again this year.

But when he went to visit another team, and then came back to campus with demands based on those minor issues – university officials simply told him they would continue to work the issues. He was asked to focus on the student athletes and the upcoming bowl game. There's a long off-season coming up to work out those sorts of minor issues. Whoever comes in as coach will know that they can count on support from WVU on big issues and small issues."

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