MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -Lawyers for Rich Rodriguez and West Virginia University will meet in court for the first time at a hearing on Thursday on scheduling and pretrial motions in the lawsuit over a $4 million contract buyout clause.
Rodriguez is not expected to be present, but lawyers for both sides will appear before Judge Robert Stone in Monongalia County Circuit Court in Morgantown.
Among the motions Stone will consider are orders to compel Rodriguez to produce evidence and a request to expedite the trial.
Both sides have indicated a desire to settle the matter before the football season.
Rodriguez resigned in December after seven seasons with the Mountaineers to take the coaching job at Michigan, taking some of his coaches and recruits with him.
WVU sued Rodriguez on Dec. 27, sparking a bitter public feud marked by accusations of lying, destruction of documents and broken promises. The case was briefly sent to federal court, where a judge decided it should be heard in state court.
WVU claims Rodriguez owes the full amount he agreed to pay in his contract.
Rodriguez, however, claims he signed that agreement under false pretenses, expecting certain verbal promises from the administration to be kept. They included the reduction or elimination of the buyout clause - a promise WVU denies making.
Though his resignation surprised both fans and a team headed for the Fiesta Bowl, the gradual disintegration of the relationship between Rodriguez and the WVU athletic department was documented in a series of e-mails outlining the coach's failed attempts to gain total control of the football program.
Depositions of Rodriguez and athletic director Ed Pastilong are scheduled for later this month.

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