Rodriguez to discuss future with Michigan

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. | Rich Rodriguez has his job for at least another day.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon and Rodriguez met Tuesday afternoon and will get together again Wednesday morning to discuss the embattled football coach’s future, The Associated Press has learned.

A person familiar with the situation told the AP that Brandon has not decided whether to fire Rodriguez, who is 15-22 after three seasons running college football’s winningest program. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the details of the evaluation were supposed to remain confidential.

Wolverines defensive back James Rogers said a Tuesday night team meeting was postponed until Wednesday afternoon, pushing back a gathering Rodriguez traditionally has the night before classes resume each semester.

Michigan officials declined comment amid reports that Rodriguez had already been fired.

“The definitive voice on this matter is Dave Brandon,” associate athletic director Dave Ablauf said in a statement. “And he has not and will not speak publicly until a final decision has been made,”

Brandon said on Saturday — a few hours after Michigan lost by a school-record 38 points in a bowl game — that he would have more to say during the latter half of this week. If Rodriguez is fired, Michigan would owe him $2.5 million to buy out the final three years of his contract.

Speculation about Rodriguez’s job security have followed him almost since his first day in Ann Arbor and it’s only increased as he’s struggled to turn the Wolverines, long a national power, simply into Big Ten contenders. Rodriguez is 0-6 against rivals Ohio State and Michigan State.

Potential candidates to replace him include Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, a former Wolverines quarterback, and San Diego State coach and former Wolverines assistant Brady Hoke.Returning to Stanford a day after beating Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl, Harbaugh shook his head no Tuesday night when asked if he had considered his options and he said nothing about his future Monday night, either.

Michigan won its first five games this year, but lost six of the last eight to finish a second straight season poorly behind one of the nation’s worst defenses and a pair of kickers who missed 10 of 14 field goals. The season was also marred by NCAA violations tied to practices and workouts that led to three years of probation and more unwanted scrutiny for Rodriguez.

Nine starters on both sides of the ball are eligible to return next season. Quarterback Denard Robinson, the Big Ten offensive player of the year, has spoke highly of Rodriguez and wouldn’t commit to returning if he is fired.

“That’s my coach,” Robinson said after Michigan lost 52-14 to Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl over the weekend. “That’s who recruited me.”

The decision rests with Brandon, who once played for Bo Schembechler and was lured back to his alma mater from his lucrative job as chairman and CEO of Domino’s Pizza a year ago Wednesday. Since his first teleconference with reporters, Brandon has been peppered with questions about Rodriguez’s future.

“I am as concerned as everybody is, knowing we’re a program that likes and needs to win,” Brandon said a year ago. “We sing about being the champions, the leaders and best. No one wants to win more than Rich Rodriguez.”

Brandon has consistently said he would evaluate Rodriguez after the season and now has his biggest decision yet.

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