Harassment claim: Rich Rodriguez asked staffer to keep wife and girlfriend separate

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Rich Rodriguez was fired Tuesday after six seasons at Arizona. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Rich Rodriguez was fired Tuesday after six seasons at Arizona. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

The claim filed against former Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez includes allegations that Rodriguez instructed a former staffer to keep his wife and girlfriend apart on the sidelines at an Arizona game.

Rodriguez was fired as Arizona’s coach Tuesday night. A claim against him by a former member of the Arizona athletic department was filed in the state attorney general’s office on Thursday.

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The Arizona Daily Star obtained details of the $7.5 million claim filed against Rodriguez. In it, the woman said Rodriguez created a hostile work environment and accused the coach of sexual harassment. The woman said in her claim that Rodriguez inappropriately grabbed and touched her in January 2017, an incident that, along with others, led to Rodriguez getting the nickname of “The Predator.”

It also said she was told to be a buffer between Rodriguez’s wife and his girlfriend, who were both on the sideline for an Arizona game vs. USC.

In November 2015, Rodriguez asked the woman to get a sideline pass for his girlfriend for the USC game in Tucson, during which Rodriguez’s wife was also on the sideline. The woman said that at one point, she had to stand between Rodriguez’s wife and girlfriend in the hopes of avoiding a confrontation and when she later told Rodriguez how uncomfortable she’d been, he laughed it off.

In January 2016, while Rodriguez was in San Diego on a recruiting trip, the woman received a phone call from his hotel regarding a barking dog in Rodriguez’s room, which the accuser later learned was Rodriguez’s girlfriend’s dog.

There are many more claims — including one where Rodriguez changed his workout schedule so he could walk past the woman shirtless — in the Daily Star report.

Arizona said Tuesday night it couldn’t substantiate harassment claims against Rodriguez during its investigation because the former staffer didn’t cooperate. Though it noted that it found things over the course of its investigation that led the school to make a coaching change.

In a statement after his firing, Rodriguez said the claims that led to it were “baseless and false” and admitted to an extramarital affair.

The woman also notes multiple times after the alleged January 2017 incident where Rodriguez allegedly gave her money and acted in ways that were inappropriate like an interaction where he gave her $1,500 in June and told her to not tell her husband or his wife.

“She recalls him being so close to her face that she could smell the BBQ chips on his breath. He then grazed her breast with his hand as he awkwardly reached towards her for a hug,” the claim says, adding that the woman left the office feeling violated.

Rodriguez was at Arizona for six seasons. The woman’s daughter also worked in the athletic department and she said in her claim that inappropriate comments were made about her regarding members of the football team.

The woman resigned from her job in July and took a job at an insurance company.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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