Rodriguez Costing Michigan More Than Just a Pretty Penny
15-21 overall, 6-17 Big Ten
If these numbers don't make your stomach churn, then you are not a True Blue Michigan football fan. Those who are will recognize immediately the record of Michigan's 17th head coach, Rich Rodriguez, whose three-year tenure brought a 40-year streak of winning seasons to a screeching halt. Not since the one-year reign of first coach Frank Crawford has a Michigan head coach had such a dismal record. That was in 1891.
Why, then, after three losing seasons in the Big Ten is Rodriguez still in Ann Arbor?
I'm thinking dollars — $2.5 million to be precise — the amount The University of Michigan forked over three years ago to buy out Rodriguez's West Virginia University contract. That, plus his estimated $2.5 million annual take with salary and endorsements. Of course, if Michigan does dump him, we would have to pay off the remaining $7.5 million on his six-year contract. Speaking as a fan, I want our money back.
From the start, Rodriguez trampled traditions, defending himself in 2009 by stating: "There's a difference between tradition and best practice. Tradition is the fight song and the winged helmets. It's not style of play or how you pick captains. … When I interviewed for the team they said, 'We want you to be successful on and off the field.'"
Um, Rich? Losing seasons do not add up to success on the field and NCAA sanctions do not add up to success off the field. But you're right, winning would help. Only you have to beat teams like Michigan State and Wisconsin and Ohio State, not just U Conn and Bowling Green.
To those touting a "winning" 2010 season, let me remind you that in the Big Ten, our own conference, this was yet another losing season, and that despite the fact that our quarterback, Denard Robinson, was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year.Continued on the next page