MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -More than two weeks after he was sued over a $4 million buyout clause in his contract at West Virginia, Rich Rodriguez turned in a second resignation letter, claiming university president Mike Garrison reneged on a deal to reduce and possibly eliminate the clause.
The letter obtained by The Associated Press and bearing Rodriguez's name indicates the tack his legal defense will take when he files a response to that lawsuit in U.S. District Court.
Rodriguez resigned with a one-sentence letter on Dec. 18 to take coaching job at Michigan, touching off a bitter public dispute in which each side has accused the other of lying. The latest letter is dated Jan. 10.
WVU general counsel Alex Macia did not immediately confirm that the university had received the letter, and WVU spokesman Bill Case did not immediately respond to a phone call Friday asking for Garrison's response.
The disintegration of the relationship between Rodriguez and the WVU Athletic Department is documented in a series of e-mails written over a five-month period and released to the AP under the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act.
They show Rodriguez's agent, Mike Brown, fighting to get his client more operational and marketing control over the football program, and over money Rodriguez helped raise through a booster organization he founded. They also show Brown threatening to take his client elsewhere as early as mid-November.
WVU sued Rodriguez for breach of contract on Dec. 27.
In his latest letter, sent to Athletic Director Ed Pastilong, Rodriguez restated his displeasure with how slowly WVU was responding to additional demands he made in December 2006, when he passed up a $12 million deal at Alabama. They included allowing him to have his own Web site, an issue that raised legal concerns for the university.
Rodriguez ultimately signed the new contract with West Virginia on Aug. 24, 2007.
Though the university has acknowledged it planned to reduce his buyout clause to $2 million in 2008, the Jan. 10 letter claims that Garrison told Rodriguez ``he did not believe in buyouts'' and might eliminate it entirely.
``He knew I did not want to sign it with the large buyout but assured me that as soon as he took office he would address it,'' the letter says. ``I told him the four million buyout was unfair and Garrison agreed but said the Board of Governors would not change it at the time due to publicity concerns.''
E-mails from Garrison chief of staff Craig Walker show the university was still working on Rodriguez's demands as of Dec. 13, 2007, and the administration has told the AP it did not change its position after that date.
Rodriguez's letter, however, claims that he was told on Dec. 15 in a private meeting with Garrison that the university had done all it could and would not honor his outstanding requests.
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