Source: Bama to make decision within 72 hours

NEW YORK -- West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez termed his meeting Tuesday with Alabama athletic director Mal Moore in New York as "informal" and tried to lower expectations that anything substantive occurred. However, Alabama will make a decision whether to offer Rodriguez the job within the next 72 hours, a source with knowledge of the discussion told ESPN.com's Ivan Maisel Tuesday night.

Moore met with Rodriguez and his wife, Rita, on Tuesday at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where both had come for the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame dinner.

Rodriguez estimated that the meeting lasted "25, 30 minutes. How long did it last, Rita?"

"Ninety minutes," she said.

"Oh," Rodriguez said. "Well, we didn't talk about anything specific. We didn't talk about plans or facilities or anything."

But they talked about enough, the source said, that Moore planned to discuss hiring Rodriguez with university president Dr. Robert Witt, a handful of influential boosters and, yes, the NCAA. Because Alabama remains on probation for NCAA violations on Feb. 1, any potential head coach must receive a clean bill of NCAA health before the university may hire him.

Alabama assistant athletic director Doug Walker said the university stood by the statement that Moore gave Friday, in which he said he would make no comment on any candidates. Moore has changed his mind and is not going to South Bend, where the the fifth-ranked Crimson Tide men's basketball team will play Notre Dame on Thursday. He is returning to Tuscaloosa instead.

Rodriguez has made it clear that he wants to know soon if he must make a decision. West Virginia has a big recruiting weekend planned, the coach said, and he doesn't want his discussion with Alabama to drag well into next week.

Alabama might not be the only school to check on Rodriguez's interest, however.

According to a source close to situation, Miami athletic director Paul Dee will ask for permission to speak to Rodriguez Wednesday morning.

Rodriguez had been coy about his plans before Tuesday, publicly saying he hasn't been contacted by Alabama.

"I plan on being at West Virginia the rest of my career," Rodriguez repeatedly stated in an interview with the Wheeling (West Va.) News-Register in a story posted on its Web site last Friday.

Also on Friday, Rodriguez replied to rumors he was leaving by telling MetroNews Statewide Sport radio: "I have no idea what anybody is talking about. I have not talked to anybody. They haven't offered me anything. I didn't even say I was interested. When all of these rumors came up, all I said was I don't address rumors. It's as simple as that."

Rodriguez is 49-24 in six seasons at West Virginia. He signed a three-year extension with the Mountaineers on June 24 and has six years left on his contract, which pays him about $1.1 million annually with the possibility of more than $400,000 in additional performance bonuses. The contract includes a $2 million penalty if he leaves West Virginia before Aug. 31, 2007.

The amended contract increased Rodriguez's supplemental compensation for work such as radio/TV appearances and other promotional activities to more than $510,000. That sum increases to $900,000 beginning Jan. 16, with $50,000 increases each additional year until the contract expires after the 2012 season.

Rodriguez, 43, would also receive a $600,000 annuity from the school if he's still coaching the Mountaineers after the 2011 regular season. He loses the annuity if he leaves West Virginia before then.

ESPN.com senior writer Ivan Maisel contributed to this report.