The University of Arizona has fired its head football coach, Rich Rodriguez, following allegations by his former administrative assistant that Rodriguez sexually harassed her.
After the university hired a law firm to investigate the claims, the employee declined to participate and nothing could be definitively proven, but the university still decided to sever ties with Rodriguez, who will be paid the nearly $5.5 million remaining on his contract, ESPN reported.
“After conducting a thorough evaluation of our football program and its leadership, both on and off the field, President [Robert] Robbins and I feel it is in the best interest of the University of Arizona and our athletics department to go in a new direction,” Arizona athletics director Dave Heeke said in a statement.
Rodriguez also released a statement, obtained by ESPN, in which he admitted to having an extramarital affair but denied he had sexually harassed anyone.
He said in his statement he cooperated with Arizona and submitted to a polygraph test.
“This was a thorough investigation that lasted over 10 weeks and included multiple members of my current and former staff. Notably, the complainant refused to cooperate with the investigation. It was comforting to be reassured of what I already knew, the claims were baseless and false,” he said.
The former employee has also signaled she will file a $7.5 million lawsuit alleging Rodriguez maintained a hostile work environment.