Source: Coach, U-M to meet Wednesday

Updated: January 5, 2011, 3:33 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Rich Rodriguez has his job for at least another day.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon told ESPN's Desmond Howard that he has not made a decision on whether to fire the embattled coach, who is 15-22 after three seasons running college football's winningest program.

Brandon and Rodriguez met Tuesday afternoon for about three hours at Brandon's house and, according to a source close to the coach, will convene again Wednesday morning to discuss Rodriguez's future.

One source close to the situation told ESPN.com's Joe Schad that Brandon may have been hoping Rodriguez would resign, but he won't.

Another source said "contractual considerations" could emerge as a determining factor in Michigan's decision. Rodriguez would be owed a $2.5 million buyout if Michigan decides to terminate his contract.

Another factor is that Rodriguez paid $1.5 million out of pocket in three payments to West Virginia as part of a $4 million buyout when he came to Michigan and the question is how much, if any, of the money could be recouped.

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."

Rodriguez and Brandon have had extensive conversations throughout the month of December. Rodriguez has stressed the large number of starters returning, spoken of recruits committed, a highly ranked offense and possible staff changes, particularly on defense.

Another factor in the delayed decision could be who Brandon would choose to replace Rodriguez. Harbaugh could attain $5 million to $7 million dollars from an NFL team, one source estimated, a number Michigan couldn't match. LSU's Les Miles has a very strong team returning next season and a $1.25 million buyout. San Diego State's Brady Hoke could be a factor if Rodriguez does not return. One source said other unnamed coaches have been courted through intermediaries and some have already declined interest.

One person close to the situation said the hiring situation should be resolved Wednesday, with Rodriguez and Brandon reconvening in the morning and the players' meeting rescheduled for Wednesday afternoon. Rodriguez has not been told he is fired, a source insisted Tuesday, but that still appears a very strong possibility.

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.

Patrick Doyle, who succeeded Brandon as Domino's CEO, hasn't been surprised that Brandon has stuck with his plan.

"I have met few people in my life in business or personally who are more consistent between words and actions than Dave," Doyle said. "When Dave says he's going to do something a certain way, that's how he does it. He's incredibly consistent and that's one of the reasons he became CEO of two very different companies over 20 years -- Domino's and Valassis -- and why the University of Michigan wanted him to make the big decisions for its athletic department."

Information from ESPN.com's Joe Schad and The Associated Press was used in this report.