Lawsuit against former Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez, school dismissed

Oct 28, 2021, 12:19 PM
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 04:  Head coach Rich Rodriguez of the Arizona Wildcats in the first half...
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 04: Head coach Rich Rodriguez of the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of the game against the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 4, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

A lawsuit filed by former Arizona Wildcats football coach Rich Rodriguez’s then-administrative assistant alleging sexual harassment and a hostile workplace environment has been dismissed, the coach’s lawyers told ESPN on Wednesday.

“This brings closure to a 4-year saga, affirming what we have maintained from the beginning — that the plaintiff fabricated claims of harassment in an attempt to exact a large financial settlement,” Bennett Speyer, Rodriguez’s attorney, said in a statement to ESPN. “The scheme failed. She did not receive a single cent from my client or UA. Unfortunately, Coach Rodriguez paid a steep reputational price as the subject of publicized false allegations. As an added cost, his wife, Rita, and their children, as well as former UA staff members and players, were unnecessarily harmed.”

The news this week puts an end to the legal battle, with both sides paying for their own attorney costs. It does not include a settlement or a nondisclosure agreement and was approved by a U.S. district judge, according to ESPN.

Charges against the coach and his wife had been dropped in 2019 but were still open against the University of Arizona, per ESPN.

The school last month motioned for a summary judgment, leading to the dismissal — the summary judgment was issued because Rodriguez’s former assistant did not file a civil rights complaint within a 300-day deadline after the allegations took place, according to ESPN.

The claims by a former UA administrative assistant were cited in the university’s announcement of Rodriguez’s firing in January 2018.

The school conducted an internal investigation before announcing Rodriguez’s firing after a 7-6 season that left his record with the Wildcats at 43-35 spanning 2012-17. The University of Arizona could not substantiate claims by the plaintiff but said the investigation uncovered information that made it concerned about the direction of the football program.

Shortly after he was fired, Rodriguez again confirmed that an investigation had occurred, saying that he had cooperated with the investigation and had even voluntarily taken a polygraph test.

But Rodriguez did admit to an extramarital affair with someone who was not affiliated with the university.

His former assistant initially filed a $7.5 million claim against former University of Arizona football coach in 2017.

According to the initial claim, she said the trouble began when Rodriguez allegedly introduced the “Hideaway Book,” which was for the eyes of a select few in the football program. She alleged the book was designed to create an air of secrecy and included phrases such as “Title IX doesn’t exist in our office.”

The assistant also said that she and two other employees — Charlie Ragle and Miguel Reveles — were forced to lie about Rodriguez’s indiscretions, including an extramarital affair. She also said Rodriguez sexually harassed her on multiple occasions. She claimed the coach touched her breast and would appear before her in various states of undress, including being in his underwear.

She said the stress of what Rodriguez did made her suffer from migraines and nearly ruined her marriage.

Rodriguez is now offensive coordinator at Louisiana-Monroe after holding the position at Ole Miss in 2019.

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