Today, the WVU College of Law hosted a panel discussion entitled, “Rodriguez Law,” discussing the legal topics involved in the case. Professors Tom Cady, Vince Cardi, and ‘dre cummings (ed. — yes, it’s in all lower-case letters) spoke on the topics of tort law, contract law, and NCAA institutional control.
When asked for their opinions on whether WVU would be able to recover the full 4 million dollars from Rodriguez, all three professors agreed that the matter would likely be settled out of court in order to avoid costly litigation.
The contract law portion focused mainly on the liquidated damages clause in Rodriguez’s contract, that has been spelled out many times before. Cardi, however, also touched on the possibility of a negative injunction that could be filed by WVU, which would prohibit Rodriguez from coaching anywhere until the term of his contract is complete.
Though an uncommon practice, this was actually successfully done in 1979 by the New England Patriots when Chuck Fairbanks left to become the head coach at Colorado. Fairbanks was eventually allowed to coach following a settlement.
Torts Professor, Tom Cady, pointed out that WVU could sue the University of Michigan for the tort of intentional interference of contract, by poaching Rodriguez. Tort action, as opposed to contract law, DOES allow punitive damages to be assessed.
However, this too, is an unheard of practice in the ranks of college athletics, due to the small availability of the product (college head coaches) when compared to other industries, and the good ol’ boy (and girl? – Mary Sue Coleman and Donna Shalala) network of college presidents unwilling to sue each other.
(actually footage of a law school girl)
Finally, Professor ‘dre cummings agreed with Gov. Joe Manchin, saying that the practices of agents pressuring universities and actively seeking other job opportunities for their clients is a major reason for such corruption and greed in college sports today.
He added that, no matter how high a buyout clause or ironclad a contract seems, agents will always advise their clients that the clause will be easily overcome.
Former President David Hardesty, the mastermind of the panel, decided to not attend last minute out of fear of being ‘a distraction to an open forum.’ I can only assume he means having to actually answer difficult questions and being pepper sprayed in the face by me.
The panel was a bit ill-timed, as it began at the same time that Rodriguez’s notice of removal was being filed.