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National Sports Digest: Rodriguez, Michigan pay WVU $4 million

Associated Press
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. ó Former West Virginia University football coach Rich Rodriguez and the University of Michigan have agreed to pay a $4 million buyout and settle a lawsuit that WVU filed after he broke his contract in December.
Rodriguez will pay $1.5 million in three annual payments beginning January 2010. The Wolverines athletic department, his new employer, will pay $2.5 million by the end of July and cover Rodriguez’s legal fees, the University of Michigan said in a statement Wednesday.
“To help Rich focus on the challenges ahead, we have worked with him to resolve the dispute between him and West Virginia University over the terms of his buyout,” Michigan athletic director Bill Martin said. “Although he continues to disagree with the validity of the terms, Rich and the rest of us at Michigan felt that it would be best to get this distracting issue behind us.”
The WVU Board of Governors held a special meeting Wednesday and approved the agreement, settling a case attorneys Tom Flaherty and Jeff Wakefield were set to try this fall.
“It’s a case that should have settled a long time ago and could have settled a long time ago. It’s in the best interest of everyone to resolve it,” Flaherty said.
Rodriguez quit the Mountaineers in December for the head coaching job at Michigan, only a year after extending his contract with WVU. He had argued that WVU broke the contract first by failing to honor certain promises ó a charge WVU denied.
The settlement was reached on what had been a key deadline in the case. As part of the discovery process, a judge had given Rodriguez until the end of Tuesday to reveal whether the University of Michigan or anyone else had agreed to pay WVU on his behalf.
COLLEGE HOOPS
INDIANAPOLIS ó UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero has been selected chairman of the Division I men’s basketball committee for 2009-10.His term begins Sept. 1, 2009. Guerrero will replace current chairman Mike Slive, commissioner of the SEC.
PREP FOOTBALL
CHARLOTTE ó One of the state’s most prominent high school football programs has been cleared of recruiting violations.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Peter Gorman said Wednesday there is “no concrete evidence” that Charlotte Independence recruited players. The decision means that coach Tom Knotts will remain in his job.
Gorman said that everyone needs to move forward after the four-month investigation.
Independence won a record seven straight state titles from 2000-2006 and owned the nation’s longest winning streak at 109 games before losing a game last fall.
The Patriots finished second in the state last season.
NHL
RALEIGH ó The Carolina Hurricanes have signed forward Chad LaRose to a one-year, $875,000 contract.
The 26-year-old LaRose has played three seasons with the Hurricanes, earning career-highs with 11 goals and 23 points last season despite playing just 58 regular-season games. He originally signed with Carolina as an undrafted free agent in 2003.
– UNIONDALE, N.Y. ó The New York Islanders signed alternate captain Brendan Witt to a two-year contract extension worth $6 million through the 2010-11 season.
– SAN JOSE, Calif. ó Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff re-signed with the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, agreeing to a three-year deal worth $9.3 million.
BASEBALL
NEW YORK ó The All-Stars of music are coming to Yankee Stadium, too.
Nine-time Grammy winner Sheryl Crow will sing the national anthem before baseball’s All-Star game on Tuesday night, and classical pop star Josh Groban will sing “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch.
– LOS ANGELES ó Don Mattingly will resume his duties as Los Angeles Dodgers hitting coach after the All-Star break. Mattingly, hired as part of new manager Joe Torre’s staff during the offseason, asked to be switched from hitting coach to major league special assignment coach, citing family reasons.
TENNIS
SHANGHAI, China ó Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal, No. 1-ranked Roger Federer and No. 3 Novak Dkojokic have qualified for the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup Nov. 9-16.

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