ANALYSIS: WVU won by proving Rodriguez is no dumb jock

By Steve Korris | Jul 18, 2008



MORGANTOWN – West Virginia University's board of governors prevailed in a $4 million suit against former football coach Rich Rodriguez by establishing beyond a doubt that the coach was smarter than the president of the university.

Rodriguez wished to paint himself as a dumb jock at a disadvantage in negotiations with WVU president Mike Garrison, but the facts didn't fit the picture.

As the suit advanced before Monongalia Circuit Judge Robert Stone, Rodriguez kept looking brighter and Garrison kept looking dimmer.

When attorney Marvin Robon of Toledo, Ohio, deposed Garrison for Rodriguez on June 12, Garrison had already announced he would leave his job Sept. 1.

Robon rubbed it in, grilling Garrison about a master's degree the university awarded to Gov. Joe Manchin's daughter, Heather Bresch.

Robon barely dented Garrison's credibility in 10 hours and, in the process, dented his own strategy to prove Garrison clever.

Stone wrecked the other side of Robon's strategy June 23 when he ordered Rodriguez to produce his endorsement contracts.

University attorneys suspected the contracts would prove Rodriguez clever.

They felt they would find further proof in his real estate investment contracts, and though Stone didn't order production of those he said he might later.

Rodriguez, having proved his intelligence, had to punt. He and his new employers at the University of Michigan agreed July 9 to pay West Virginia University $4 million.

Now he can keep his contracts to himself as he prepares for Big Ten competition. He inherits a grander tradition than he carried a year ago and he occupies a bigger stadium.

Garrison prepares for job hunting.

At his deposition he said that after Sept. 1 he would continue working for the university on the Rodriguez litigation.

He didn't say what else he would do for the university, but apparently he wouldn't have done anything else.

As soon as Rodriguez agreed to pay, Garrison announced he would leave Sept. 1.

More News

The Record Network