Arizona fired Rich Rodriguez on Tuesday night, six days after the Wildcats finished the season with a loss in the Foster Farms Bowl.
That Rodriguez was the subject of a workplace misconduct allegation became public knowledge shortly before the school announced it had “parted ways” with the coach, according to a USA Today report.
“After conducting a thorough evaluation of our football program and its leadership, both on and off the field, President [Robert] Robbins and I feel it is in the best interest of the University of Arizona and our athletics department to go in a new direction,” athletic director Dave Heeke said in a statement.
USA Today reported that Arizona hired an outside law firm to investigate a claim against Rodriguez made by one of his former administrative assistants. The investigation reportedly revealed no misconduct, but the threat of a lawsuit against Rodriguez is looming.
Wildcat Authority reported the school will honor the remainder of Rodriguez’s contract, which means he will receive a $6.3 million buyout. A source told Sports Illustrated the move was based solely on the direction of the program.
Heeke sent a letter to students, faculty and staff, detailing that “the original, specific harassment allegations against Mr. Rodriguez could not be substantiated based on the evidence and witnesses available to it. However, Arizona Athletics did become aware of information, both before and during the investigation, which caused it to be concerned with the direction and climate of the football program.”
Rodriguez posted a message on Twitter, denying that he harassed his former assistant but admitted that he had a consensual extramarital affair with a different woman, which was detailed in the complaint against him. He said the former assistant has threatened to sue him for $7.5 million.
Rodriguez was 7-6 this season, and 43-35 in six years with Arizona.
Sports Illustrated also reported another unnamed school could be dealing with a similar situation.
By Corey Masisak
Source: NY Post