Deadline Approaching?

Reports have Alabama setting a Friday 3:00 p.m. deadline for a decision from Rich Rodriguez concerning its offer to become the Crimson Tide's head football coach.

WOWK TV is reporting that Rodriguez, who is also apparently hearing from West Virginia about possible contract sweeteners and further guarantees for facility improvements, has until mid-afternoon to make a decision on the SEC school's offer.

If true, that would not leave much time for Rodriguez, or his agents, to conduct further negotiations with either side. And while the deadline does fit in with Alabama's interest in getting a new head coach named as soon as possible, it also puts a great deal of pressure on the current Mountaineer coach. If he turns down the Alabama job, or a deadline expires before he makes a decision, it could reduce any leverage he holds in negotiating a better deal from the West Virginia administration.

Rodriguez, who is scheduled to be with his team at football practice this afternoon, reportedly had a contract faxed to him by Alabama athletic department officials. Rodriguez' agent was in Tuscaloosa to discuss details of the proposed contract on Thursday.

The proposed deal was worth at least $2 million per year for six years, which would make him one of the highest paid coaches in the nation. Incentives in the contract for reaching goals such as winning an SEC division or conference title, as well as a national championship, were reportedly far in excess of similar bonuses in his current contract for similar achievements at West Virginia. Alabama was also reportedly willing to pay Rodriguez' existing $2 million buyout.

Typically, official offers of head coaching jobs are not made by high-profile schools unless confidence is high that the offer will be accepted. That allows the school to avoid the embarrassment of being turned down. The same is usually true for coaches, who often don't want to admit they are candidates for a job until a deal, however informal, has been struck. That does not appear to be the case in the Alabama-Rodriguez story, as the Tide seems to be out on the ledge waiting for an answer, which could be the reason for the reported deadline.

Rodriguez has been adamant in his statements that he remains the coach at West Virginia, and that he has not agreed, in principle or otherwise, to any deal.

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