Thursday, January 24, 2008

Emails Appear to Back Rich Rod's Claim

A gradual disintegration of the relationship between Rich Rodriguez and West Virginia officials is documented in a series of emails obtained by the Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The emails, written over a five-month period, would appear to strengthen Rodriguez's claim that promises made to him were broken. Rodriguez is using this as a cornerstone of his argument to get out of a $4 million buyout clause in his contract.

The emails also contain complaints by Mike Brown, Rodriguez's agent, that Gov. Joe Manchin was interfering with the program. Manchin denies the claims. The AP released chronological excerpts of key exchanges between the parties at the center of the dispute.

Mike Casazza of the Charleston Daily Mail also reported that West Virginia athletic department officials used money from a WVU Foundation account set aside for football recruiting expenses to manage other costs in the athletic department.

Although officials say they did nothing wrong, Rodriguez reportedly was frustrated at the way the account was used.

Daily Mail columnist Jack Bogaczyk writes that West Virginia officials owe donors to the foundation the real story.

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