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Published: Saturday, 9/6/2008

Rodriguez gets around to contract

BY JOE VARDON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Rich Rodriguez is set to sign a contract to coach UM football 10 months after his hiring. Rich Rodriguez is set to sign a contract to coach UM football 10 months after his hiring.
TONY DING / AP Enlarge

Rich Rodriguez is close to finally signing a six-year, $15 million contract to be Michigan s football coach, almost 10 months after he was hired and with a game already under his belt.

According to a source with knowledge of the negotiations, Rodriguez could sign a contract within the next 10 days that is largely consistent with the offer sheet he signed Dec. 16.

The contract will include a $4 million buyout clause, which carries extra significance because he had the same clause for the same amount in his contract with West Virginia. Rodriguez s former employer sued him to recoup the $4 million after he left to coach UM.

A deal was struck in July for Rodriguez to pay West Virginia $1.5 million in three installments beginning in 2010, and for UM to pay the remaining $2.5 million.

A source said the lengthy delay in Rodriguez finalizing a contract to coach the Wolverines was caused by the bitter, public legal dispute between him and West Virginia his alma mater. The settlement between them was reached July 9.

According to UM s original offer sheet, Rodriguez s base salary is $300,000, with the remaining $2.2 million coming from various marketing, media, endorsements, and other ventures.

The university declined to comment except to say that a contract has not been finalized.

Last month Ohio State revised Jim Tressel s contract to make him the highest-paid coach in the Big Ten.

He ll make $3.5 million next year with yearly 3 percent to 4 percent increases through January, 2013.

Contact Joe Vardon at:jvardon@theblade.comor 419-410-5055.



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