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RichRod on WVU lawsuit: ‘I remember… they said a contract is a contract’

Toyota Gator Bowl: West Virginia v Georgia Tech Getty Images

Legal matters are usually no laughing matter, but there is undoubtedly a degree of humor in West Virginia’s lawsuit against the Big East to leave the conference by June 30 of next year.

Just hours before the suit was reported and made public, noted that former WVU coach Rich Rodriguez was a name being tossed around to potentially replace the fired Bob Toledo at Tulane (Rodriguez has ties to the school from his time there as an offensive coordinator).

Rodriguez was the focal point of a nasty lawsuit by WVU over the buyout they demanded he pay when he left for Michigan in December, 2007. Rodriguez is now a college football analyst for CBS, so naturally, the topic of WVU’s lawsuit came up on “Inside College Football”. Take a peek at Rodriguez’s response below (video courtesy of CBSSprots):

Okay, so that was only kind of awkward, but it was hilarious. And, really, there is a level of hypocrisy on WVU’s end and that’s the joke, nothing more.

But, side by side, it’s not completely the same. West Virginia sued Rodriguez under the belief that the institution had upheld its end of the bargain; that they had provided Rodriguez everything that was agreed upon in his contract. What WVU is arguing in their litigation against the Big East is that the conference did not do its part to keep Big East football a viable BCS conference.

WVU is insisting that they can’t be held to the 27-month waiting period because, in essence, the Big East breached its contract. Therefore, in WVU’s opinion, the bylaws are null. In fact, that’s one of the counts: material breach of contract.

The suit also cites numerous other inactions and issues, but that’s the big picture. Whether or not the school has a legitimate case is to be determined; a likely goal is to settle and move on.

The big picture of the last few months is that no one comes out of conference realignment smelling like roses. WVU’s lawsuit already is, and will to continue to be, a messy separation because the school is acting on what it feels is its best interest. But that’s not an isolated incident. Texas, Texas A&M, Pitt, Syracuse — even the ACC and the SEC — they all did what they felt was best for them and them alone.

All we can really do is laugh about the stink.

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41 Responses to “RichRod on WVU lawsuit: ‘I remember… they said a contract is a contract’”
  1. 78lion says: Nov 2, 2011 3:56 PM

    They also loaned you a shredder, Dick!

  2. Deb says: Nov 2, 2011 4:03 PM

    Well … WVU didn’t tell RichRod he’d have to buy out his contract and stay 27 months. They’re willing to buy out the contract. So actually, they’re not being hypocritical.

  3. polegojim says: Nov 2, 2011 4:37 PM

    Well… I wish they would’ve FORCED him to stay in WV and paid out his contract there.

    That would have solved EVERYONE’S problem.

    He set Michigan football back 2 years for every 1 year he coached. I don’t think he remembered there were TWO sides to the team.

    It’s called ‘Defense’.

  4. wvuandsteelers says: Nov 2, 2011 4:37 PM

    RichRod is also a lying sack of monkey excrement too. In case anyone wanted to know how I really felt.

  5. harleyspoon says: Nov 2, 2011 4:38 PM

    RichRod is letting is smallness show….WVU never reneged or breached on anything regarding him…The Big East obviously didn’t live up to its end of the bargain it made with WVU…if even one of the points in the WVU lawsuit are valid…

  6. thefiesty1 says: Nov 2, 2011 4:49 PM


    Your absolutely right. Coaches also come and go at the drop of the hat. WVA’s suit against the BE is a whole different story.

  7. contract says: Nov 2, 2011 4:52 PM

    I can’t imagine that anyone in the state of West Virginia cares about anything that comes out of RichRod’s mouth. If his lips are moving, he’s busy lying to someone about something.

  8. highoctane1 says: Nov 2, 2011 5:19 PM

    WVU didn’t try to make RichRod stay an extra 27 months because there was no clause in his contract saying that he had to. There is a lot of hypocrisy in the world of college athletics, and WVU’s lawsuit is a prime example.

    RichRod signed a contract that had a buyout if he left. He left, but did not want to pay the buyout, so he alleged that WVU failed to live up to certain promises it made regarding the program. It was all B.S., but RichRod got what he wanted in the end – a settlement.

    WVU signed a contract that had a 27 month notice provision in it (heck, it helped draft that provision). They are leaving, but they do ot want to abide by the notice, so they are making claims against the BE. The BE was incompetent, but that is a far cry from a breach of fiduciary duty or other viable cause of action. The only question is whether WVU will ultimately get the settlement wants.

    Apples = Apples

  9. steelersandladyboysfan says: Nov 2, 2011 5:36 PM

    Is there a more dysfunctional athletic department than West Virginia? maybe that one over in Columbus but that’s about it.

  10. mikey1977 says: Nov 2, 2011 5:37 PM

    Good for you Dick Rod!…good for you!

  11. Deb says: Nov 2, 2011 5:55 PM

    @highoctane1 …

    But funny how the Big East didn’t mind letting TCU out of that contract for $5 million, which WVU is willing to pay. And don’t give me that bit about TCU not being a “real” member yet. A member is a member, and the court isn’t going to split hairs over how one member had two feet in and the other only had one foot in.

    Apples = Apples

    The 27-month notice is higher than any other conference. It’s an unreasonable burden.

  12. pabstman says: Nov 2, 2011 6:49 PM

    The Product is mad b/c we told him to just forward his last payment to WVU straight to Providence. Saves on postage 😉

  13. trainwreck101 says: Nov 2, 2011 7:25 PM

    WVU – Trailer Park Mentality.

  14. helenh777 says: Nov 2, 2011 7:30 PM

    Maybe Rich Rod could go to Washington, D.C. There his lying wouldn’t be noticed so much.

    Sure enjoyed the analogy by wvuandsteelersfan.

  15. goforthanddie says: Nov 2, 2011 8:53 PM

    Shouldn’t he be shutting up and filling out job applications?

  16. vgiord1227 says: Nov 2, 2011 9:13 PM

    First, I will say this. TCU was not a member of the Big East. They agreed in principle to join the BE, and would be official members July 1 2012. The same would be the case for WVU. If they were to be allowed to leave the BE early they would not be considered members until July 1, 2012. How difficult is that to understand? The reason that TCU was treated differently was because it was never an official member with voting powers.

    When TCU signed its contract to join the BE that contract had an early out clause where it could back out of the contract prior to being a full member. The only thing TCU needed to do was pay a $5 million dollar fee for backing out. I have signed contracts before and often they have early exit fees, even prior to receiving services or benefits. This is not too difficult to understand! WVU is screwed if this is the best they got!

  17. richirwin says: Nov 2, 2011 10:07 PM

    Rich Rodriguez – suck a dick.

  18. Deb says: Nov 2, 2011 10:23 PM

    richirwin, if that’s the most creative thing you can come up with to show your dislike for RichRod, why bother registering? If we wanted to read that garbage, we’d just hang out in a junior high bathroom :roll:

  19. commonesnes says: Nov 3, 2011 12:00 AM

    WVU was more than willing to hold Pitt and Syracuse to the 27 month requirement. Now they argue it shouldn’t apply to them. The conference has no choice but to enforce the 27 month requirement, otherwise there is a precedent to there being no value or teeth to exit provisions. The prospective conference members insisted on tightening the exit provisions as a condition of accepting invitations. Not enforcing the current exit provisions would be a precedent that the exit provisions are toothless and would dissuade new teams from committing to the Big East.

    WVU joined the conference subject to the exit provisions. Now they have to live with them. This legal action will end up in Federal Court in Richmond VA. It won’t be determined by a good ole boy judge in WV. If Marinatto backs down on this he will be perceived as perhaps the world’s biggest pu**y and might as well resign on the spot. He will no longer have any power or authority to lead the conference.

  20. cardinals1234 says: Nov 3, 2011 1:09 AM

    “And don’t give me that bit about TCU not being a “real” member yet. A member is a member, and the court isn’t going to split hairs over how one member had two feet in and the other only had one foot in.”

    You couldn’t be more wrong.

    TCU wasn’t even due to become a member at all until July 1, 2012.

    Nice try, though.

  21. norcalirish says: Nov 3, 2011 8:49 AM

    “The 27-month notice is higher than any other conference. It’s an unreasonable burden.”

    Then they shouldn’t have agreed to it in the first place.

  22. commonesnes says: Nov 3, 2011 9:14 AM

    WVU not only signed the exit provisions they helped draft them. They were worried about other schools leaving them behind. They were anxious to apply the exit provisions to Pitt and Syracuse a few weeks ago. Now they do not want to abide by the same peovisions. As Soupy Sales said to Whitefang: WVU “how come every time I see F you see K!

  23. harleyspoon says: Nov 3, 2011 11:18 AM

    highctane1, WVU signed a deal that required certain things from them…but that deal also required certain things from The Big East….as stated in the WVU lawsuit…WVU makes a fair case that The Big East did not and is still not living up to the provisions of the contract…If The Big East does not or cannot live up to its agreement requirements, neither does WVU have to live up to its requirements. WVU has paid $2.5 million to The Big East and will, upon official separation, pay another $2.5 million to The Big East. If that is not enough to generate a separation, I a sure WVU will agree to a fair settlement that entails more $$$ being paid to The Big East. As it is, the teams the The Big East is primed to invite are not and have not been in a BCS conference and there is no reason to believe that they will cause The Big East to continue to qualify as a BCS conference after 2013.

  24. harleyspoon says: Nov 3, 2011 11:31 AM

    If, however, an agreement cannot be made to allow WVU to join The Big XII immediately, then it is incumbent for The Big XII to make a deal with BYU–which is an independent and under no conference requirements or limitations–immediately (notwithstanding BYU’s Sunday issues) in order to comply with the TV contract minimum of 10 teams in the conference. Then The Big 12 needs to go after Notre Dame as a non football member with a possibility and maybe a probability that Notre Dame will eventually join the football program to The Big XII. The 9 teams currently in The Big XII plus BYU equals 10…and with WVU in The Big XII when a settlement occurs equals 11 (that worked okay for the Big 10)….plus Notre Dame in a non football capacity until the time is right for ND to join its football program…thus making the Big XII a 12 team conference again…

  25. commonesnes says: Nov 3, 2011 11:39 AM

    WVU needs new lawyers. There is no contract between
    WVU and the Big East. WVU is a member of the conference and as such elected the administrators of the conference. The conference administrators reported to the board composed of representatives of each member including WVU. The. Board had the authority to replace the administrators and to direct their actions. I’d the administration did not meet WVU’s expectations it was due either to the poor oversight by the Board composed of member representatives or because a majority of WVU’s co members disagreed with WVU on matters undertaken by the conference administration. In either case there was no breach of contract by the Big East which abrogates WVU’s obligations under the exit provisions they agrred to, and insisted on holding Pitt and Syracuse too! WVU’s legal claims are meritless.

  26. highoctane1 says: Nov 3, 2011 11:57 AM

    @Deb and others –

    The whole TCU thing is a red herring – and WVU’s attorneys have to know that. TCU’s status was contractually and legally different than the other BE conference members. TCU agreement required a $5mil payment if it left, but it did not require a waiting period. TCU was not allowed to leave early by the Big East – it was never obligated to stay in the first place.

    WVU can make the argument that 27 months is an unreasonable burden, but the counter-argument is “that’s the point.” It was intended to be onerous so that schools would be deterred from leaving. We are seeing how much money is at stake to be lost here by the member schools being left behind. Its $10s of millions if the BE loses its AQ status. Another problem for the argument that it is too onerous of a wait period – Pitt and Syracuse seem to be willing to wait if they have to.

    I understand that the Big 12 wants WVU now, and WVU thinks it needs to get out now, but this lawsuit just seems weak on its face from a purely legal standpoint. WVU will have some arguments to make, but those arguments are, at best, novel. The BE has too much to lose by giving in, so I expect a fight. The only way this settles is if outside parties (the BCS, TV networks, other conferences) step in to facilitate a way that the Big East can feel secure in its AQ status.

    I am not a WVU hater (actually, I am, but only on gameday). The plain fact is that WVU is facing an uphill battle to be out of the Big East by next season.

  27. Deb says: Nov 3, 2011 12:08 PM

    @cardinals1234 …

    It’s not my nice try. It’s WVU’s nice try–that’s the thrust of their argument in the lawsuit. And FYI, I’m an Alabama fan who opposed WVU’s application to the SEC because West Virginia isn’t a Southern state. So it’s not my fight. I’m just voicing the opinion that the Big East can’t have it both ways. Whether or not TCU’s membership had taken effect, the school had been accepted into the conference and was allowed to buy its way out, forgoing the 27-month waiting period–which is a much greater burden than other conferences require. I think the Big East would have a better argument if they hadn’t made an exception for TCU. The court may agree with you–or not.

  28. Deb says: Nov 3, 2011 12:13 PM

    @highoctane1 …

    No worries. We’re all just speculating here. To me, though, it’s folly for the Big East to take this path. WVU–as well as Syracuse and Pitt–are leaving. Holding schools hostage for two+ years won’t save their conference. I could understand a one-season waiting period, but 27 months seems excessive. It’s more vengeful than forward-thinking. Take the money and start planning your future.

  29. commonesnes says: Nov 3, 2011 12:31 PM

    The point of the exit provisions was to make it prohibitively expensive for conference members to leave and unattractice for other conferences to poach. WVU wanted just that when it is applied to other conference members but not to themselves. The BE basketball schools which have a majority of the conference votes will not agree to release WVU early. If the the BCS sticks its nose in expect a lawsuit. The basketball schools are looking for a good tampering case against this illegal monopoly.

  30. woodmeister46 says: Nov 3, 2011 1:14 PM

    Well, if the Big Least keeps insisting that members who do not want to stay, remain. Then those members (Pitt, ‘Cuse, & WVU) need to win all their conf. games in all sports. Show the conf. how inept the rest of the teams are. Take all the conf. trophies with you when they decide to let you leave.

  31. 1wvsaintsfan says: Nov 3, 2011 2:30 PM

    SMH. I really hope this loser doesn’t come to Tulane…

  32. highoctane1 says: Nov 3, 2011 3:25 PM

    If the Big East thinks it can survive w/o Pitt, Cuse, and WVU staying their 27 months, I agree that it should not try to force people to stay who don’t want to be there. It would be in everyone’s interest to end the relationship sooner than later for some agreed fee.

    There are two reasons why the BE probably has to hold firm. The first is mere survival. There is a lot of conflicting information out there about how the BE stays AQ over the long and short term, but most of what I am reading suggests that the Big East cannot risk going below 8 teams at any point, which means all three teams have to stay until at least three new teams can come in.

    The second reason is less important, but more certain, which is that if the BE relents on WVU, Pitt, and/or Cuse, then how do they deter the next wave from leaving – Louisville, UConn, or whoever? If the 27-month requirement doesn’t have any teeth now, then it won’t in the future either, and we can all anticipate that someone else could leave the BE in the next few years and cause the BE another survival problem. From a legal perspective, letting any of the current teams out of the 27-month requirement could be used as evidence by future leaving teams that the penalty cannot be enforced on them.

    Rumors are that WVU plans before to leave by 2012 regardless of whether this court case is concluded. Then it gets real interesting – does the BE move for a preliminary injunction to prevent the move? Does WVU risk $$$$$$$ if they bolt and BE loses AQ as a result. Very interesting.

  33. Deb says: Nov 3, 2011 5:47 PM

    @highoctane1 …

    I think the Big East’s survival may depend on becoming committed to being a basketball power. And not being a basketball fan, I can’t offer much more on that subject beyond suggesting that Boise State isn’t a good fit for many reasons. The whole college football landscape has become a mess.

  34. eliotzz says: Nov 3, 2011 6:39 PM

    cardinals1234, commonesnes, and a few others, you’ve missed the point and perhaps the article. You can’t have it both ways. A contract is a contract but TCU wasn’t a member yet? They signed the contract then had to pay to get out but they weren’t really members until summer 2012? Yea, right. TCU was a LEGAL member. Period. Signed, sealed and later paid. And WVU has a case from that fact, plus the fact that the Big East will not be able to fulfill their contract for the duration of the unreasonable required 27 months that WVU would have to remain, thus causing financial damage to WVU athletics during the term and potentially other damages thereafter. It’s simple to understand and it does have merit.

  35. woebegong says: Nov 4, 2011 12:03 PM

    I always thought that Rich Rod didn’t live up to his end of the contract with WVA either. In the end it is big business and a money game. He stunk up the house, at Michigan, so you have to wonder, exactly why that happened. Michigan is one of the best recruiting schools in the NCAA usually and has a vast amount of talent in the mid west to pick from. Why couldn’t he get some of it. Did players upon meeting him, see something they didn’t like. Was his offensive game calling his downfall. Did they detect that his loyalty to schools extended only as far as the money was there? Guess we will never know the truth, but I would say, Tulane is about his speed now. They will never be a threat for the BCS NC but they are a decent school at times in football.

  36. wvdown2tn says: Nov 4, 2011 5:42 PM

    Somebody needs a geography lesson. WV is a southern state. It seperated from Va in 1863…AFTER the Civil War. The Mason-Dixon line which divided the states is actually in Pennsylvania. Better luck next time.

  37. thesaturdayreport says: Nov 4, 2011 5:52 PM

    Nothing but a lack of class on WVU, I seem to recall a sign “We will neVer leave yUo”

  38. Deb says: Nov 5, 2011 1:30 PM

    wvdown2tn says:

    Somebody needs a geography lesson. WV is a southern state. It seperated from Va in 1863…AFTER the Civil War. The Mason-Dixon line which divided the states is actually in Pennsylvania. Better luck next time.
    Somebody needs a history lesson. Did you even graduate from high school? The Civil War ended in 1865, not 1863. And I never mentioned the Mason-Dixon Line. Since that’s an east/west line of demarcation, it’s certainly not the sole determinant for deciding which states are and aren’t part of the South. The traditional South is usually defined as the 13 states that signed the order of secession:

    North Carolina
    South Carolina

    West Virginia specifically broke from Virginia because the majority of citizens in the western portion of the state did not want to secede or to be part of the South. You can’t have it both ways, genius.

    You might want to study this stuff before taking your GED. Oh … and better luck next time. :roll:

  39. v2the4 says: Nov 7, 2011 3:46 AM

    I would think the majority of people, when asked if they consider Missouri to be more of a southern state, or more of a midwestern state, Im sure most people would take the latter instead of the former(more midwestern than southern)……Missouri, the show me state, is the gateway to the West, hence the gateway arch in St Louis on the banks of the Mississippi River.

    Whatever historical or geographic denominations we want to come up with, This move is all about the SEC trying to move toward the 16 team superconference and working toward a major revision of their current television contract.

    In terms of football, I would rank Missouri on par with middle/lower end of the pack SEC schools like Miss St and Kentucky. In the 16 years that Mizzou had in the big 12, they have won the north title once, and have played in one big 12 title game in 2008

    . They have yet to play in a BCS bowl game, and matter of fact, in 2008 the Orange Bowl selected Mizzou’s main rival, Kansas over them for a BCS selection, even though Mizzou beat KU in the regualar season finale.

    Mizzou is more a basketball school than a football school anyway, and they will play second fiddle to Kentucky like they do to Kansas right now in the big 12….for Mizzou’s love of basketball, they have never been to a final four…zilch…nada….not one

    Mizzou will go into SEC play with a record of 19-8-1 vs current SEC members….they have met everyone in the sec at least once, except Tennesee(no meetings, even though they are border stats) the tigers have faced West Virginia as many times as they have faced Arkanas(5 times overall). The majority of their meetings with SEC schools took place in bowl games, or in the early 1900’s.

    we will soon see how this move fares for Mizzou. Will there Texas recruiting pipeline be eliminated since they will only head to the Lone Star State once every six years for an inconference game vs Texas A&M?

    Will Mizzou be able to continue their rivalry football and basketball games with Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Okie state, or will they all go away only to resurface like the Mizzou/Illinois series?

    stay tuned

  40. lace4568 says: Nov 7, 2011 4:57 PM

    Your right! A contract is a contract. Glad things worked out for ya’ at Michigan Pal! Cosmic “freakin'” justice for the both of ya’. You & UM tried to screw WVU & God… was… watching.

  41. jw004wv says: Nov 21, 2011 6:02 PM

    Sad that BOTH above got it wrong….. kinda.

    Yes, West Virginia separated from Virginia before the end of the civil war, because they wanted to fight for the Union, and did not agree with slavery, nor succession. We became a state in 1863, the war ended in 1865. However the Mason-Dixon line is in fact the “official” un-official separation of North and South. (A horizontal state border cannot in any way be an east/west line of demarcation, like for example the Mississippi River would). The fact that you, the one giving the “lesson”, are stating that the Pennsylvania/ West Virginia border is a determination of East and West is well… more frustrating and laughable than I can put into words.

    SO, for those of you wondering what my point is:
    Our gorgeous state has long been conflicted as to which side (North/South) to be associated with. We obviously did not fight for the South in the CW, and we are obviously not above the Mason-Dixon line. We drink from mason jars, but have frequently harsh winters. Plenty have a southern-drawl, but have fine educations from northern AND southern institutions of higher learning. Others just get high on bath salts.

    The back (and less important) end of that point includes a college football fanbase that coincides well with the southern traditions of the SEC and Big12, but that obviously is my opinion that you are welcome to disagree with.

    There’s your daily dose of knowledge.

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