WVU Sports with Tom Bragg

Prelude to a trial

In legal maneuver No. 1,433, WVU’s lawyers would like to know where the Rodriguez Family lived last month.

West Virginia University attorneys have asked U.S. District Judge John Bailey for permission to place former football coach Rich Rodriguez and his wife Rita Rodriguez under oath and ask them where he lived when the university sued him.

The university disputes Rodriguez’s claim that he established citizenship in Michigan before the university sued him in Monongalia Circuit Court in Morgantown.

The weird part about this — and I think it encapsulates everything about this drama — is it has nothing to really do with the lawsuit, but is just meant to determine jurisdiction and where the case can be tried. So, in short, we might have depositions to determine where we have a trial.

WVU presents other side

No doubt perturbed by the fact many of the people writing bad things about him and his athletic program never bothered to call and check with him, WVU Director of Athletics Ed Pastilong gave his account of his relationship with former football Coach Rich Rodriguez.

However, Pastilong said Rodriguez never complained to him about the buyout contained in the deal.

“Rich never expressed any concerns to me regarding the buyout during that period of time,” Pastilong said Wednesday during an interview in his WVU Coliseum office.

Again Wednesday, WVU was dealing with the backlash from an Internet story critical of the university and athletic department. WVU has come out on the short end of several Web site stories by national writers in recent weeks.

The story posted late Tuesday on ESPN.com included quotes from multiple unnamed sources, including a “West Virginia booster,” and Pastilong. The story was critical of Gov. Joe Manchin and called into question the leadership of first-year university President Mike Garrison as well.

“It’s is a concern, the portrayal West Virginia University is getting from the national media,” Pastilong said. “I’m pleased with the state and local media in that for the most part, they verify information with us before printing it.

“The national people haven’t done that, as evidenced by this (story) today. It’s confusing to me as to why the information is being provided at all, relative to West Virginia University, without them contacting our athletic department to verify.

“It’s not only the content, but the purpose there.”

Official: Catlett’s leather jacket irrelevant

Bob Huggins is apparently prepared to make a bold fashion statement tonight.

Find a way to check out Bob Huggins tonight. In his first game against his former team, Cincinnati, the West Virginia coach, in honor of his alma mater’s blue-and-gold colors, will be decked out in a gold suit.

In the course of the last few weeks, I’ve wondered if there has been an uglier split than the one we’ve witnessed between WVU and Rich Rodriguez. There is no precedent, but not long ago, there was at least a similar situation when Bob Huggins clashed with University of Cincinnati President Nancy Zimpher and forced into resigning.

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Perhaps the key three words to WVU’s legal dealings with former football coach Rich Rodriguez are as follows: parol evidence rule.

In order for the rule to be effective, the contract in question must be a fully integrated writing; it must, in the judgment of the court, be the final agreement between the parties (as opposed to a mere draft, for example). One way to ensure that the contract will be found fully integrated is through the inclusion of a merger clause, which recites that the contract is, in fact, the whole agreement between the parties.

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Interest is interesting

It appears we may have been misled about the amount of pre-judgment interest Rich Rodriguez might owe WVU on the now-breached $4 million buyout clause in his contract. WVU attorneys have told various media outlets — including mine — that the university is expecting to collect the full amount, plus interest at about $4,000 daily.

This opened eyes … and legal books. Seems it might not be accurate. Let’s take a trip inside my e-mail inbox…

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Unbelievable…

The true surprise is that it took so long for someone to do something like this, but West Virginia’a ECHL hockey club, the Wheeling Nailers, is offering “Shred Rich Rodriguez Night.” And I find it very appropriate that the story that will not go away will be reprised one more time on Groundhog Day.

Rodriguez, who took time to shred every file in his WVU office before departing to become the head coach at the University of Michigan, will have the favor returned at the Nailers game on February 2.

The Nailers are offering discounted tickets to any fan that brings in a newspaper article of picture of the former West Virginia University football coach to contribute to the industrialized paper shredder that will be stationed in the concourse.

Tax dollars at work

In advance of tonight’s State of the Union, let’s jam some politics in here. Congressman Alan Mollohan’s resolution to honor WVU’s football team passed through the House of Representatives Monday.

Resolved, That the House of Representatives–

(1) Congratulates the West Virginia University Mountaineer football team for winning the 2008 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl; and

(2) Commends the team for demonstrating throughout the season the best qualities of teamwork, dedication, and sportsmanship.  

And now, the dissenting opinion

But the assertion in the resolution that the WVU had to “overcome adversity” to win the Fiesta Bowl doesn’t really make it for me.

As one Crypt colleague pointed out, if there was one team that really overcame some adversity this year, it was the Virginia Tech Hokies, whose campus saw the horrific murder of 32 students and teachers in April 2007. Virginia Tech came back and almost won the national championship this season. West Virginia, meanwhile, choked horribly in a Dec. 1 loss to the Pittsburgh Panthers. which cost the Mountaineers a chance to play for a national championship. Not good.

So if WVU, which is a great school with a great football program, deserves a resolution honoring it’s bowl victory, let the House also pass resolutions honoring the other 30 bowl champions. Fair is fair

Deja vu

Not going to comment on the (non)goaltending at the end of Saturday night’s game other than to say it as a great play to end a great game. I will say, however, that it felt very familiar, from the foul free throw shooting to the finish. Remember the 2005 Guardians Classic?

After the Mountaineers’ Johannes Herber and Kevin Pittsnogle missed the front ends of 1-and-1 opportunities, Tucker’s follow shot got Texas within 75-74 with 15.4 seconds remaining. Pittsnogle missed another 1-and-1 with 14.7 seconds to go, and Aldridge converted after misses by Paulino and Brad Buckman. 

“Our usual trademark is to make foul shots down the stretch, and tonight we didn’t,” West Virginia coach John Beilein said. “We had two of our best free throw shooters at the line.” 

After his game-winning putback, Aldridge blocked a last-second layup attempt by Gansey, who led the Mountaineers (2-1) with 28 points. 

“We’ve run that play for years, and it’s never been that wide open,” Beilein said. “We had a clear layup. I don’t know where Aldridge came from.” 

Replays appeared to show Aldridge leaving his feet and making contact, but no foul was called. 

“The referee made the right call,” Gansey said. “Texas made a great defensive play. At the end of the game, the referees don’t want to determine it and kind of let us play. It was the right call not to make the call.” 

Aldridge declined to comment on the no-call, but Texas coach Rick Barnes said there was no foul. 

“I saw it. It was a clean block,” Barnes said. “There’s no need to talk any more about it.”

Congratulations to Kirsten Haglund, who was named Miss America Saturday night. Sorry, West Virginia, but she is also Miss Michigan. And leave it to the press to dig deep and ruin another Michigan coronation!

Just three years ago, newly crowned Miss America Kirsten Haglund was eating tiny portions of food and became so thin her concerned parents “dragged me to the doctor.”

Haglund was diagnosed with anorexia, and the lack of nutrition caused her collar bones to stick out, her heart rate to drop and her relationships to suffer.

“I would feel fatigued walking up six stairs,” the 19-year-old Haglund said Sunday, a day after being crowned Miss America 2008. “I was a completely different person. It’s not a pretty sight.”

I don’t think anorexia is funny — well, sometimes — but I must admit that in light of recent events, the symmetry of seeing a less-than-flattering story about a Michigan personality made me laugh.

But not as much as Miss South Carolina makes me laugh!

…I believe that our education like such as South Africa and the Iraq everywhere like such as and I believe that they should our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S…