The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Sports

January 17, 2008

Rodriguez used WVU cell phone to recruit for Michigan

MORGANTOWN — In the hours after telling his team he was leaving for the University of Michigan, former West Virginia football coach Rich Rodriguez called at least two Wolverine recruits from his WVU cell phone, according to records obtained by the Daily Mail through the Freedom of Information Act.

In the request for a declaratory judgment filed by WVU’s Board of Governors last month, the board asked that Rodriguez submit “full and complete copies of all cell phone records, text message records, phone records and e-mails for the time period between Dec. 1, 2007, up to and including Dec. 18, 2007.”

The university suspects Rodriguez contacted recruits for Michigan while still employed at WVU. The NCAA recruiting calendar was also in a quiet and dead period when WVU believes some contact was made.

Attorney Thomas Flaherty, hired to represent WVU and the board in the lawsuit, said it was “impossible to say” the documents obtained by the Daily Mail — phone, text message and e-mail records from his final two months — are what the plaintiffs hope to receive from Rodriguez.

“It’s what the university has, but we don’t know what we’re going to get from Rodriguez,” Flaherty said.

If what the Daily Mail acquired from the university is all or part of what Rodriguez submits, the e-mail and text records seem to be of little use. The history of phone calls is potentially more useful.

Of the calls made to or from Rodriguez’s two WVU phones — one a Blackberry, the other a Cellular One phone — nine were Michigan numbers. The rest were to other locations, and the numbers were blacked out and unidentifiable.

On Dec. 15, the day after Rodriguez met with Michigan officials in Toledo, Ohio, he made seven calls to Peterstown in Monroe County, a place he called 112 times during November and December, often in succession, and also made calls to Boston, Toledo and Phoenix, where his agent works. On Dec. 16, he repeated the cycle with calls to each location. This time, the call to Phoenix lasted 29 minutes.

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