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Michigan’s Football Coach Rich Rodriguez Gets Axed, as expected

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The ax fell Wednesday morning with the announcement by the University of Michigan’s Athletic Director David Brandon that embattled Wolverine football coach, Rich Rodriguez, was fired.

Rumors of his firing had been swirling for days, including at the U-M bowl game January 1. One local TV station, Fox2 Detroit, announced the firing Tuesday night while the other three news crews frantically tried to confirm it.

The cost to U-M, a reported $2.5 million, to buy him out of his contract (Michigan bought him out of his previous contract when he bolted from West Virginia University when he landed the U-M job three years ago).

The media continues to report the decision was Brandon’s and his alone.

Not likely. The accurate scenario went something like this:.

U-M’s Regents were upset and angry over the three disappointing, losing seasons under Rich Rod. Alumni, too, were upset, and at least some were making their disappointment known with their checks, or lack of them. The Regents put pressure on U-M President Mary Sue Coleman. She reports to them. She, in turn, would have called Brandon, one of her direct reports, to discuss her concerns and that of the Regents.

Brandon alone had no authority to agree to the millions in payout. Only Coleman, with the Regents approval, could authorize that.

Cross-state rival Michigan State’s previous football coach John L. Smith had a similar experience. MSU’s president Lou Anna Simon had a similar directive from the MSU Trustees when the Spartans were repeatedly losing. In MSU’s other major sport, happily Simon  was able to keep its legendary, luminary basketball coach Tom Izzo this summer when he was being courted by the Cleveland Cavaliers. (No one yet has fully reported how MSU sweetened his package to keep him in East Lansing.)

So Rich Rod leaves, his coaching staff got terminated, too, but likely without the windfall payoff her received.

Sadly, U-M is far more than a football team, but in today’s environment, the only story that really matters involved athletics.

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Written by jrnjbb

January 5, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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