Legally Speaking, Now Is Time to Fire Rich Rodriguez

For the second consecutive season under coach Rich Rodriguez, Michigan will not be going to a bowl game.

In two seasons, Rich Rod has racked up a 8-16 overall record, beaten down the Michigan fan base to such a degree that Ohio State scarlet and gray filled up many of the best seats in the Big House this past Saturday, and left my wife, a Michigan alum, refusing to watch their games on television. “I’m already over Rich Rod,” she’s said on many occasions.

Now as Michigan enters the long, difficult winter of Wolverine discontent, there’s a real issue that has to be decided. If you don’t think Rich Rod is going to get it done at the school, you need to fire him now, before the next season commences.


Because you have a legal hook that can significantly lessen the blow of the firing — you can argue that Rich Rodriguez breached the terms of his contract by violating NCAA rules. Bang. Meet Michigan’s own stimulus plan for the athletic department, firing Rich Rod for cause.

A bit of a legal primer: All NCAA contracts contain a contractual provision allowing a school to end their relationship with a coach “for cause.” Think of it is as the school’s parachute in the event the plane is going down. Unlike a golden parachute where a coach is fired but receives millions to end the contract, firing someone “for cause” effectively wipes away the buyout provisions in a contract.

NCAA Fanhouse