Wednesday, January 16, 2008
WVU's suit against Rich Rodriguez moves to federal court
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia University's lawsuit
against Rich Rodriguez was transferred to federal court on
Wednesday because the former Mountaineers coach had moved to
Michigan when it was filed.
"We're perfectly comfortable and happy to litigate this case in
any court," said Thomas Flaherty, a Charleston attorney
representing WVU. "This is not unanticipated."
The move gives Rodriguez, hired by Michigan on Dec. 16, until
next Wednesday to file a response. The suit was filed in a local
court on Dec. 27 to collect on a $4 million buyout clause in his
Meanwhile, the university is continuing its investigation into
missing records associated with the program under Rodriguez.
"What's got to be determined is what exactly is missing," WVU
spokesman Mike Fragale told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
"There's a lot of things I just don't know."
Citing anonymous sources, The Charleston Gazette reported
Tuesday that files kept in Rodriguez's private office disappeared
between Dec. 16 and Jan. 3, along with strength and conditioning
records from the weight room.
The newspaper report claimed the missing documents included
players' personal contact information, scholarship payments and
class attendance records, as well as strength and conditioning
records and photographs that tracked players' physical progress.
The files were discovered missing from the Puskar Center in
Morgantown, where Rodriguez had a private office, after WVU coaches
returned from the Jan. 2 Fiesta Bowl.
University spokeswoman Amy Neil said the WVU Office of
Admissions and Records maintains grade and attendance records in a
separate location, so no student-athlete's academic career is at
"We're not sure what records are missing, but all student
records, including those of the football team, are kept within the
Office of Admissions and Records," she said. "Those records are
Neil said she believes it would not be unusual for the head
coach to have copies of his own records to ensure players are
maintaining their required grade-point averages or meeting
Mike Brown, Rodriguez's agent, has said Moutaineers head coach
Bill Stewart, as a former assistant, should have copies of each
players' strength and conditioning tests because multiple copies
were made. He also said the university should have any records
involving the finances of the summer camps it ran.
Brown, however, declined to say whether Rodriguez removed or
destroyed any documents, saying that question would be addressed in
Flaherty said it would be premature to comment on whether the
missing documents had any possible bearing on WVU's lawsuit against
Rodriguez's attorney, Sean McGinley, didn't immediately return a
Associated Press writer Vicki Smith contributed to this story.