Maize ain’t blue.

A few more thoughts on the Rich Rodriguez hire at Michigan:

First, if this story is true, I can understand some of the bitter feelings in Morgantown right now.

… While the Gazette’s Dave Hickman had the scoop state-wide and nationally that Rodriguez was leaving West Virginia for Michigan, Mountaineer officials weren’t informed of the coach’s decision before he met with his players. The WVU administration wasn’t even informed immediately afterward.Sources confirmed that finally, later in the day, when Mountaineer athletic director Ed Pastilong went to meet with the assistant coaches, a graduate assistant, Mike Parrish, walked up to the AD. And presented him with Rodriguez’s short letter of resignation.

A grad assistant.

And here’s the kicker. The coach even told recruit Terrelle Pryor about the decision before he told WVU officials.

“Add Michigan to my list,” Pryor told Scout.com writer Bob Lichtenfels early in the day. “I just spoke to Coach Rodriguez and he told me he was going to Michigan. He said they made him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Even if you’re unhappy with your bosses, or some of their decisions (which I suspect is some of the motivation behind RR’s move), you still owe them the courtesy of giving timely notice, especially when they’re shelling out a seven figure salary to you.

Apparently, there’s a little bit of a good old fashioned squeeze play in effect with RR’s departure as well.

… Needless to say, WVU officials feel stung. Hours after the news broke, they still were not sure whether Rodriguez planned to coach in the Fiesta Bowl or not.You may ask why it was even a question. Well, the reason is that $4 million buyout that must be paid via Rodriguez. See, the coach’s short letter said he was resigning effective Jan. 3. That’s the day after the Fiesta Bowl.

WVU officials can’t tell Rodriguez to take a hike and not coach for fear of jeopardizing the buyout. And on Sunday, the officials were centered on not jeopardizing that buyout.

“We will be stringent with the contract, the buyout,” said Bill Case, executive director for communications on WVU president Mike Garrison’s staff.

Those contacted in Michigan, of course, expect Rodriguez to begin immediately. (Heck, he’s already started recruiting.)

Why wouldn’t WVU just reassign the guy until Jan. 3?

“The contract very specifically says [Rodriguez] cannot serve as anything other than the football coach,” Case said.

Perhaps by performing duties for Michigan, the contract is voided. But that had yet to be ironed out late Sunday…

That all being said, the statement issued by WVU’s president in the wake of Rodriguez’ decision is equal parts naivete and denial. A few of the choicer lines:

But, unfortunately, over the last two years, I have seen Rich become a victim of a college coaching system driven by high-priced agents that has turned those dreams into just another back-room business deal.

“Victim”? C’mon, dude – he’s getting a $700K pay raise and leaving WVU to go to one of the top ten programs in the country. We should all be victimized like that.

Something is wrong with the profession of college coaching today when a leader’s word is no longer his bond…

which is why we have contracts…

and it does not bode well for the student-athletes who entrust these coaches with their futures.

You know what else doesn’t bode well for those student-athletes? That they can’t transfer to any other D-1 school without sitting out a year, even though that coach is no longer a part of the program. Whose fault is that?

… I challenge everyone in our state and across this country to start looking more closely at the system that we’ve allowed these agents to create, because in the end, it serves no one well but them.

No, it serves the agents’ clients pretty well, too. Damn you, free market!

One last thing is of note to Dawg fans (if you try hard enough, you can find something relevant to Georgia in almost any football story). Whatever else you might want to say about ESPN’s Ivan Maisel, in discussing this story, he wrote something that indicates he’s evidently not from Montana:

… Think of the schools whose tradition is immediately recognizable across the nation: USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, et al.

Uga thinks Ivan Maisel can keep his day job.

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UPDATE: C’mon, admit it – this crossed your mind after you heard the news, didn’t it?

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UPDATE #2: Followed in rapid succession by this thought. (h/t EDSBS)

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UPDATE #3:  And then you thought about this(h/t The Wizard of Odds) 

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3 Comments

Filed under College Football, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Media Punditry/Foibles

3 responses to “Maize ain’t blue.

  1. Penguin

    It’s not every man who can treat his alma mater like Rodriguez did. I understand that coaches leave motivated by money. I understand that coaches like Lloyd Carr, who have done outstanding things for their schools, are discarded with little acknowledgment of their efforts or regard for them or their families.

    But your alma mater is different. Even hardened journalists like Forde give you the benefit of the doubt when you leave a contract at another school to return to your old school. To do what Rich did, in the manner he did it, says something very profound about his character.

    He went behind the administration’s back to interview with Michigan. He was flipping recruits before he told anyone at the school that he was leaving. And he is trying to force them to fire his sorry ass to get out of the $4M buyout.

    Luckily for me I also graduated from Wisconsin. I get to root against that no good traitor SOB every year….

    Will

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  3. godozo

    Listened to the Boo-yas in Chicago (the national guys) talk about how this would be good for both Michigan and for the Big Ten by introducing the “Spread Offense” to one of the “blue bloods.”

    I don’t know about you, but it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that some SEC defensive co-ordinator figured out how to fight against the gimmick offense. Watch Michigan find its “new offense” figured out and throttled in time for the new players to make the translation. Michigan won’t know what hit them; in the end they will probably satisfy themselves with another 6 years of domination over their sister school in East Lansing.