MORGANTOWN (AP) — West Virginia University should go into court-ordered mediation of a $4 million lawsuit with an open mind or the attempt to resolve its contract dispute with ex-football coach Rich Rodriguez will be a waste of time, the coach’s attorney said Friday.

Ohio lawyer Marv Robon said he will “absolutely” be willing to consider flaws in his case and a possible compromise, which is the point of mediation. He hopes the university will do the same.

“I’m a big believer in mediation,” Robon said, adding that a successful mediator leaves both parties less than happy.

A judge on Thursday ordered that mediation talks be held with an eye to resolving the dispute by Aug. 1. But the directive is a standard part of a scheduling order, and WVU attorney Jeff Wakefield said he believes it’s unlikely to help.

Wakefield said the university believes Rodriguez owes the full $4 million under the contract that was in effect when he resigned in December for the head coaching job at Michigan

If the parties can’t compromise, a motions hearing will be held Nov. 10. Monongalia County Circuit Court Judge Robert Stone could issue summary judgment for either party at that time or order the case to trial.

“If they have a hell-bent attitude that they’re not going to change, then mediation is going to be a waste of time,” Robon said. “I certainly hope it will not be.”

When asked about the chances of a compromise, Robon responded, “I would hope it would be more than 50-50.”

However, he said a lot depends on who is president of the university at the time, the results of depositions to be taken next month and whether prominent politicians including Gov. Joe Manchin want the case settled.

While Rodriguez, sports agent Mike Brown and WVU athletic director Ed Pastilong have been deposed, key testimony from WVU President Mike Garrison and his chief of staff, Craig Walker, won’t be taken until June.

Rodriguez testified he signed his contract under pressure from the WVU Board of Governors and Manchin. Rodriguez argues he was misled, and that he expected Garrison to keep a promise that the buyout would be reduced or eliminated — a promise Garrison denies making.

WVU claims Rodriguez had an agent, lawyer and financial adviser throughout his dealings and knew what he was signing.

Garrison is dealing with another crisis at WVU — a master’s degree scandal involving the governor’s daughter — and is under pressure from many faculty, students, alumni and donors to resign. He has so far resisted those calls.

Rodriguez first agreed to a damages clause in 2002, at the suggestion of his agent at the time. The payment was mutual; WVU would pay $2 million if it fired him, and he would pay WVU the same if he left before his contract expired.

In 2006, when Alabama made him an offer, Rodriguez reopened his contract. He signed a term sheet on Dec. 8, 2006, that essentially doubled his compensation package and doubled the damages clause from $2 million to $4 million.

Rodriguez testified that while he considered the amount “excessive” and “unfair,” he acquiesced when he learned a major WVU donor had insisted on it.

Rodriguez has also agreed to a $4 million damages clause at Michigan.

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