As the depositions in the West Virginia University vs. Richard Rodriguez law suit over the $4 million buyout continues, it becomes more clear that the former West Virginia football coach was under the influence of Mike Brown. Brown is Rodriguez's agent and it appears Rodriguez listened to Brown at every turn.
It also appears that the Rodriguez group is struggling to make its case, but I'll leave that alone since I am not a lawyer. Suffice it to say that those with legal knowledge have indicated that WVU is on firm ground in its claim that Rodriguez owes the full $4 million his contract stipulates.
From the deposition of outgoing and embattled WVU President Mike Garrison comes some interesting tidbits. First though, you should know Rodriguez claimed that Garrison had promised him his buyout would be reduced before Garrison took office last August. Rodriguez claimed this was said to induce him to sign his contract, which he did on August 24 of last year. Garrison denies such a promise and this begs the question of why would the coach sign a contract which had the buyout in it if he was told it would be changed?
The contract was ready for his signature for months, but Rodriguez procrastinated and didn't sign. When he finally did, it is because he was made certain promises, claims he made several months later when he decided he did not want to honor his contract. Couldn't he wait a few more days to get it in writing?
Anyway, back to this Brown character. According to Garrison's deposition, Brown first approached him last July and, according to Garrison, it was only to let the then president in waiting know that he intended to continue to shop his client to other schools. Remember, this was still at least a month before Rodriguez signed his contract.
Brown told Garrison he had pushed for Rodriguez to take the Alabama job and would continue to push him to take other jobs. Garrison said Brown told him, He didn't feel that West Virginia was up to keeping product Rodriguez.
Cool, a new nickname for the coach, Product Rodriguez.
Brown said he would continue to shop his product on the market. Surely Brown made a strong first impression on Garrison, and this conversation likely impacted the dialogue between Rodriguez and Garrison in their December 15 conversation where Garrison declined to submit to any more pressure from Rodriguez and his representatives.
Now, that doesn't preclude Garrison from making some mistakes in the handling of this, but it helps one get a sense of how things became so contentious.
You have a coach who is, save for a minor loss to Pitt, at the top of his game. As a school and athletic department, in the aftermath of the Alabama fling, WVU has bent over backwards to accommodate him and keep him from leaving.
The projects he wanted in December of '06 have either begun or are scheduled to begin, but now there is his agent saying none of this matters, he will continue to be shopped around.
You think you have taken care of the guy who grew up just 20 miles from Morgantown, but according to the Garrison deposition, Rodriguez told Garrison on that December night that, This place isn't so