Brandon Should Give Rich Rod an Extension.

Submitted by naijablue on November 2nd, 2010 at 10:19 AM

[Ed-M: Interesting thoughts. Not a diary, really, though. Retitiled and thumped to board]

I am proposing a contract extension for Rich Rodriguez immediately to calm the waters in this crazy time for Michigan football. I apologize in advance for formatting, I am typing on my Blackberry.

With so much drama around the program at this time, recruits have to be asking questions and current players may be nervous about the future of the coaching staff they came to Michigan to play for. David Brandon should offer Rich a 2 year extension at the current terms of Rich's deal. Under the current terms, Rich can be fired "with cause" for major NCAA violations. M has already admitted to multiple major violations under Rodriguez. Due to this fact, a 2 year extension really obligates the university to nothing (lawyers, please feel free to refute this).

Rich could still be fired at the end of the season if Brandon thinks it is necessary. In my opinion, the pros of doing this far outweigh the cons. I am sure the media would go crazy and Rich Rod haters would be flooding Brandon's mailbox. However, it would be a statement to recruits that the coaching situation is stable. We would also be locking Rich in to a few more years when his value is at its lowest point in years. This is a great time to buy Rich Rod stock.



November 2nd, 2010 at 10:25 AM ^

So if 2010 evolves into a 5-7 season....that makes RR 13-23 with 4 conference wins in 3 years.

6-6 this year (more likely) he is then 14-22 with 5 conference wins in 3 years.

Maybe he comes back, but no way in hell does it deserve a contract extension


November 2nd, 2010 at 11:38 AM ^

who cares about recruiting when we are talking about the long term direction of the football program. If DB thinks it isn't going forward (which is a fact when we look purely at the only stat that matter-wins and losses), then start the transition sooner rather then later 

James Burrill Angell

November 2nd, 2010 at 12:48 PM ^

Got to think of the long term here. If one class suffers, it suffers. Plus, other than D. Hart are we really lighting it up so much with recruiting??? We're not in the top 25 classes. No 5*. Most of the defensive guys will come here no matter what because....pretty obviously....we need defense. Offensive linemen are offensive linemen and none of these guys is really so much of a system guy that coach would matter that much. Really, Hart and the QB are the ones that would most be affected if there is a coaching switch. Further, if it happens quickly, and Harbaugh is the man, he has time to recruit. ( I know this is taking two leaps of faith) Its not like the guy hasn't been recruting for his own program and doesn't know the lay of the land. Its also not like he isn't a known commodity in these parts. I don't buy the recruiting argument at all. At the end of the day, this will be about Brandon's belief on the direction of the program and whether he thinks we're on track and just young (in which case RR stays) or we need to start over.


November 2nd, 2010 at 7:06 PM ^

Revenue is another one.  That's what finally forced Martin to fire Amaker - season-ticketholders were fed up and weren't going to renew.  That is a serious concern for us next season - and football revenue matters a whole lot more than basketball revenue.  I can't imagine the fanbase being happy if a 6-6 RR is retained.  He's got to win at least two more. 


November 2nd, 2010 at 10:28 AM ^

It may work because of lawyer-speak, but if we do fire Rich Rod, already having a good idea of what the sanctions are going to be, it would appear very dishonest - because it is.

He's doing the right thing in waiting for the end of the season. If we win recruits will come. If we lose they'll hesitate. If there's a coaching change it'll be tough going. But lying to recruits, the media, and Rich Rod is not the right move.


November 2nd, 2010 at 10:36 AM ^

I agree. By offering him a contract extension, you're somewhat painting a bad picture. It shows that it's ok that we are mediocre at best right now, even if Brandon would be showing optimism for next year and beyond. But what if then Brandon fires RR at the end of the season? It doesn't make much sense. Either way, just let the season pan out and see what happens. If it's the same that we have seen the last three weeks for the remainder of the year, then I am for seeing something change. But I'll try to hold my thoughts and judgement until then.


November 2nd, 2010 at 10:55 AM ^

Not to mention the fact that Rodriguez's lawyers would never agree to the clause in the contract that allows the termination for cause relating to the NCAA infractions.  Even though we lawyers are often bad-mouthed, we're not stupid.  If Rodriguez was my client, I would laugh in Brandon's face if he presented that clause to me.


November 2nd, 2010 at 12:26 PM ^

Excellent point. I think there would need to be a one-time right to terminate for cause say around 12/1/2011. If the university does not terminate, Rich can't be terminated due to anything from this specific NCAA investigation and must be bought out like any other coach at that point.

Ben from SF

November 2nd, 2010 at 12:45 PM ^

Is it just me, or did RR and his attorneys negotiate a very one-sided deal with Sailor Bill and his crew?

  • The $4M buyout
  • Total control of the coaching staff
  • No major NCAA violation clause

Assuming y'all represent the university, what would you suggest to protect our interests?


November 2nd, 2010 at 1:26 PM ^

The clause is definitely in there. This came up in numerous articles when Michigan announced the self-imposed sanctions in May. The following is from an ESPN article:

There is a clause in Rodriguez's six-year, $15 million contract that allows Michigan to fire him without financial penalty if his program is found guilty of committing major NCAA rules violations. Michigan raised its arms and admitted guilt Tuesday, but Brandon balked at pulling the escape clause in Rodriguez's contract.

Instead, Brandon will let Michigan's on-field results decide Rodriguez's future.

"These are major violations, and we understand that," Brandon said. "They could be interpreted to trigger a dismissal clause in the coach's contract. We don't deem that appropriate under these set of circumstances."

Ben from SF

November 2nd, 2010 at 1:29 PM ^

...Thank you for correcting!

However, I think the window may have closed for Michigan to fire RR without the buyout.

RR's attorneys will have a field day if he gets fired in December.  In order for the dismissal clause to be invoked, RR would have to be fired the day the admission of guilt was announced.

Wolverine 73

November 2nd, 2010 at 2:41 PM ^

You cannot begim to answer this question without seeing the entire contract.  For example, the article you link speculates that there would be a waiver/laches issue if UM tried to fire RR now.  A clause specifically excepting  the defenses of waiver or laches would hardly be unusual in a contract.  That isn't to say such a clause exists, just that it is silly to speculate on what UM could or could not do under the RR contract at this time.  I would very strongly suspect that Michigan did what it had to in order to be certain that it retained the right to terminate RR for the prior transgressions, if it decided it wanted to.  That too is speculation, but speculation based on the asumption Michigan has competent counsel.

James Burrill Angell

November 2nd, 2010 at 5:10 PM ^

No waiver or laches argument can made until AFTER the NCAA makes its official ruling. So far we've only issued our response and a slate of self-imposed sanctions but the NCAA hasn't issued its final opinion. Until the NCAA issues its final findings, the clause couldn't be invoked AND the time for an argument of laches or waiver to run wouldn't start. Of course, if he's kept for 2011, you would be correct. However, I would go so far as to say they could NOT dismiss him based on that clause until that final report comes out.


November 2nd, 2010 at 11:17 AM ^

In the spirit of devil's advocacy, and without committing myself to anything that would embarrass a school with a deservedly good reputation, take a second to think about college football and Michigan's current spot.

I don't want to hoodwink recruits, either, but I can understand why people suggest plans like this.  Michigan is competing with creeps like Saban and Petrino (and, by extension, most of the SEC), against whored-out tabloids like the Freep (which would seemingly welcome the opportunity to roast marshmallows on the smoldering corpse of Michigan football, at least as long as there'd be some advertising revenue in it for them), and against part of its fan base (the part with *really* vague ideas about Family Values, SMASHMOUTH, Jim Harbaugh, apple pie, chickens in every pot, etc.).

We're supposed to play fair, though, because of ... tradition.  RichRod is supposed to welcome Mikey R. into his office with full knowledge that the outcome (in print) will be as unfavorable as possible every time.

Yeah, I can get to it psychologically.  Still wouldn't do it, but I understand the motivation ...


November 2nd, 2010 at 11:31 AM ^

I think it's a great idea.  Dishonest?  How about all the big time coaches that sign huge contracts just to up and leave in the middle of it...huh...RR at WV?  Why can't schools do the same.  Sign him to a contract w/ what would be deemed in baseball as  "club option".  Obviously, don't advertise that part of it to the recruits or media, but sign him to another 4 years, and then drop him like he's hot if we need to.


November 2nd, 2010 at 9:13 PM ^

But it buys him more time, allows him a little breathing room from the media, and hopefully takes away any of the negative recruiting leverage other schools are using .  If we get top recruits committing to us wouldn't it be worth it?  I know we have several kids who left when he was brought in, but most of them stayed during that time.  Hopefully most of them would stay if a change was made this time too.  Just depends on what they are using to attract them to us in the first place.


November 2nd, 2010 at 10:44 AM ^

to give him an extension then fire him would keep any decent coach far away form our program when it comes time to get a new guy

to give him his full support would be the kiss of death (how many times do coaches get fired instantly after their AD or General Manager/President says 'he is our guy'?)

brandon has to lay low and pray that Rich Rod can go at least 2-2 down the stretch


November 2nd, 2010 at 11:12 AM ^

It is what it is. Brandon can give him his full support and though it has been the kiss of death for some, it may or may not be the kiss of death for RR. you can't give him a contract extension because if things don't pan out, the University is on the hook for the balance of the contract.

The best that we can hope for is that when Michigan plays at home the crowd continues to be the 12th man. That happened at PSU despite the fact most of the students and alums feel it's time for Joe Pa to go. They still supported their team. PSU was supposed to lose. They suck. On that night, we sucked more. At Michigan, I think we win that game, but it's ancient history now.

I will be at the game and I will cheer for my team. The Dr. Phillips crew will hear me cheering regardless of RR's win-loss record. Regardless of the GERG drama, I support the team, the team, the team.


November 2nd, 2010 at 10:44 AM ^

There is a legal problem with this.  It would obviously depend on how the extension is worded, but assuming no wording specifically dealing with the current NCAA issues, RR would be able to argue that the university had knowledge of these pending violations, and that this knowledge somehow equated to a "waiver" of any right to terminate RR based upon these pre-existing issues. 

Whether RR would be successful if he made that argument, I cannot comment on, because I do not know Michigan caselaw on the topic.  But, the bigger issue is that neeither RR not the University's lawyers would EVER enter into a contract extension that includes an out for the University relating to violations without specifically addressing the pending violations.

Moreover, it is dishonest to sell recruits a false bill of goods.  These are kids making life decisions, and if Michigan were to mislead them, I would be disappointed.

On the topic of an extension, as a prior poster up-chain said, look at RR's record.  Look at his accomplishments and look at some of the criticisms.  Do you think that he has done a thing to deserve a contract extension?


November 2nd, 2010 at 11:03 AM ^

You're right on both points.  First, RR could argue that any violations prior to the extension could not be cause for termination.  Second, what the hell has he done to warrant an extension?  Being the worst coach in the history of the program doesn't normally earn a person a new contract.


November 2nd, 2010 at 11:09 AM ^

I'll tack on that if there are already major violations and they would fall under the contract "extension" (as the OP implies) then there is no consideration. It's as if Michigan said "we'll give you an extra 2 years, unless we don't want to." That is not a contract, it's a gratuitous promise. Obviously there is more that goes into a contract than just that, but it goes to the issue of you can't simply ignore those pending NCAA issues.


November 2nd, 2010 at 11:43 AM ^

There's consideration if they're going to pay him for the two years.  The sanctions issue would be less clear.  Presumably, the contract has a non-waiver clause that states the failure of a party to enforce a provision does not prohibit the party from later enforcing it, but whether a court would uphold that is not cut and dry. 


November 2nd, 2010 at 2:19 PM ^

Right, but the key is "if" they are going to pay him for the 2 years. Under the OP's logic you could get rid of him before ever paying him for the 2 years by finding that he violated the "major sanctions" part of the contract. He wouldn't see a cent of that money.


Under the OP's logica the contract would essentially be voidable at any time by Michigan without any penalty to Michigan if they got rid of him before next season.


November 2nd, 2010 at 11:41 AM ^

we have to understand that hes our coach and we have been plagued with injuries this season on defense...were just impatient because its Michigan. Dont get me wrong Ive been really upset with the past couple season but there is huge progress here this year...we just need to chill out and see how the season plays out...we will be playing 2 top 10 teams to finish the season lets give the guy the rest of the season at least.


November 2nd, 2010 at 10:49 AM ^

this doesn't seem advisable, even if you support RR.  by signing day we'll know who the coach will be next year.  it's not ideal to have questions regarding your head coach's future, but this idea creates as much confusion as it solves.  in any event, from a legal perspective, an extension is an extension.  you can't create a faux clause that allows you to wiggle out of contractual obligations based upon already known circumstances.  you'd be estopped from denying the knowledge you have of the present circumstances of the NCAA investigation.


November 2nd, 2010 at 10:50 AM ^

Extension now is meaningless . . . let season play out.

Firing DC right now would do no good. I actually am one of the very few who doesn't want to fire Gerg. I think one more year, with the seasoning in the defense, will tell us a lot.

I actually still think 7-5 is within reason, and that's what I predicted at beginning of season. Assuming we end 7-5, give RR the extension at that time.

I do think that Brandon, Coleman, and even Carr should strongly defend and support RR at the end of the season, assuming 7-5.

Remember, 7-5 is still an improvement over last year, when one of our wins was a baby seal anyway. If we go 9-3 in 2011, with our current defense, and even with Gerg, that's still improvement, and we haven't acted rashly in a way that is to the detriment of the program.


November 2nd, 2010 at 10:54 AM ^

My understanding of contracts is that a contract "extension" is actually a new contract that declares the old one void. So, essentially you are signing a new contract that would be valid for 5 years. You would keep most of the wording the same, but certain things like the buyout clause could change and have some conditions added in to help them usher him out if he doesn't perform next year.

I think this is something that Dave Brandon needs to do, but I wouldn't do it if he has any doubt in his mind that Rich Rod will be back next year. I also don't think he will do it until the end of the season so that there is no doubt that Dave Brandon supports what Rich Rod is doing despite however wins and losses come from the next 4 games.


November 2nd, 2010 at 11:53 AM ^

I am not a lawyer but negotiate commercial real estate transactions for a living. Not sure about coaching contracts, but often in leases the only items modified on an extension are the dates and possibly the rents by amending the current contract. You do have the option of doing an entirely new agreement, but typically this is not done since the vast majority of the language would stay the same.


November 2nd, 2010 at 10:58 AM ^

As an actual thought, it blows.

Man has proven he can't win here. If we bring him back next year (God help us), what do you think he'll do?  Team wins 7? After four years. 

Get serious.  Everyone now accepts this isnt working. Make the change asap. Of course it will hurt recruiting in the short term. Better than then the continued destruction of this great program.

Y'all know I"ve said for two years now that this would be RR's last. I think the reason everyone else is finally coming around is what the Penn State loss confirmed. Michigan isn't simply losing games. That was already confirmed. Rather, it's that if the other team - even if from the MAC -- puts up a fight, puts up a mother f-ing fight, Michigan backs down.

This has to stop.


November 2nd, 2010 at 10:59 AM ^

It would be embarrassing to give an extension to a guy who is 13-19 in 2+ seasons at a school used to competing for conference championships. If you are saying it still leaves the out to fire him after the season then what is the point? A lot of recruits will decommit if he is fired even if the quasi 2 year extension made them feel better right now. And if you believe he can turn it around with help from a whole new d coaching staff then the move is simply to not fire him.


November 2nd, 2010 at 11:11 AM ^

I agree with OP.  Right now RR is a lame duck coach and that doesn't bode well for recruiting.  If anything it'd be a good PR move to just help in that regard. 


November 2nd, 2010 at 1:09 PM ^

First of all, good luck beating Illinois. Secondly, going 7-5 with humiliations against Wisconsin and Ohio State isnt saving anybody. At this point after watching Penn State run all over us I have no idea who on here could reasonably believe we'll even be close to Wisconsin/OSU when they run for 7 yards a carry every carry. We'll be lucky to keep Illinois at 5 yards per carry as it is.


November 2nd, 2010 at 11:12 AM ^

Unless there is a drastic turnaround and we win out, RichRod does not deserve an extension.  I'm not even sure that he should be retained, at this point.  If we can manage to get to 7-5, I'd be okay with keeping him, albeit on the condition that the entire defensive coaching staff be canned, and whoever gets hired brings their own assistants and runs their own scheme.  If we finish 5-7, or even 6-6, I think the RichRod experiment can probably be considered a failure, and we need to begin finding someone else to turn this mess around.


November 2nd, 2010 at 11:15 AM ^

if the fine print says that he has to fire his entire defensive staff, hire a proven DC and allow that DC to not only hire his own staff, but allow him to run whatever defense he is most comfortable with.


November 2nd, 2010 at 11:16 AM ^

I think you make a good point, and I see where you're going.  Despite what some people on here may think, recruiting is the most important thing.  I would love for him to stay( see 4th ranked offense in the country) however I would fire Greg Robinson on November 28th at 12:01 a.m. in a manner akin to an execution.  Give Rich Rod the option to work with an approved defensive coordinator/system or to leave.  Let him have his 4th year if he agrees and if we aren't better, then he is gone. 

This works out because Harbaugh isn't gonna leave this year.  He sitll thinks the Stanford cieling is higher than what it is, and next year he will lose Luck and they will return to mediocrity.  Les Miles may have bought himself another year at LSU and by next year he may be on the way out as well. 

It's evident that this team has made progress offensively and with a RETURNING qb, a revamped defense and anyone on the planet that can kick the damn ball, we beat Iowa (this year and last), and Penn State.