Not only was Rich Rodriguez not fired by Michigan on Tuesday, as had been reported earlier in the afternoon by Fox 2 Detroit, but it now appears that athletic director Dave Brandon still hasn’t made a final decision.
According to the AP’s Larry Lage, Brandon and Rodriguez will meet once again on Wednesday to determine the coach’s job status. This would explain why the players meeting originally scheduled for Tuesday night was moved to Wednesday afternoon.
In an official release, Michigan disputed media reports that Rodriguez had been fired.
“The definitive voice on this matter is Dave Brandon,” associate athletic director Dave Ablauf said in a statement. “And he has not and will not speak publicly until a final decision has been made,”
Brandon spoke to ESPN analyst and former Wolverines receiver Desmond Howard and confirmed that he had not yet reached a decision.
Furthermore, a source told ESPN’s Joe Schad that Brandon may have hoped that Rodriguez would resign, but the coach wouldn’t do so. The two met at Brandon’s house for three hours on Tuesday.
Another factor that may be drawing out the process is Rodriguez attempting to negotiate a better settlement from Michigan.
Another source said “contractual considerations” could emerge as a determining factor in Michigan’s decision. Rodriguez would be owed a $2.5 million buyout if Michigan decides to terminate his contract. Also, Rodriguez paid $1.5 million out of pocket in three payments to West Virginia as part of a $4 million buyout when he came to Michigan. One key question is how much, if any, of the money could be recouped.
Is it possible that Brandon gave Rodriguez the chance to make a case for keeping his job, and Rodriguez may be doing exactly that? We may finally learn some answers on Wednesday.