Report: Saban in contract talks with Alabama
With rumors swirling that Texas coach Mack Brown is set to resign, the Alabama fan base is nervously waiting to learn if Nick Saban will be the Longhorns' next coach.
Crimson Tide officials reportedly hope to prevent Saban from leaving Tuscaloosa for Austin.
Saban, who guided the Tide to national championship in three of the previous four seasons, is talking with Alabama officials about a contract extension, ESPN reported Wednesday.
According to the report, the Crimson Tide's verbal offer would make Saban the top-paid college football coach, but the sides were not yet in agreement, causing consternation in the Alabama administration.
Texas would be able to top any financial offer made by Alabama, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Alabama athletic director Bill Battle said it's business as usual for the Crimson Tide program. He didn't respond to questions about Saban's status while attending a IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in New York on Wednesday.
"We're focused on recruiting and playing Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl," Battle said.
Meanwhile, Brown is expected to announce by the end of the week that he is stepping down after 16 years at Texas.
A reporter from the Fort Worth Telegram posted Tuesday night on Twitter that Saban would take the Texas job.
"Source close to Texas executive council of regents says Nick Saban will be next Longhorns coach," tweeted Stefan Stevenson, the TCU beat reporter for the Telegram.
Brown disputed the story that he was leaving when reached by text from Horns247.com.
"I haven't seen (the) article," Brown wrote via text. "I'm in Florida recruiting. If I had decided to step down I sure wouldn't be killing myself down here. I have not decided to step down."
Reports surfaced earlier in the season that Texas might be targeting Saban after it was discovered that a current and former Texas regent discussed the Texas position with Saban's agent, Jimmy Sexton, after last season's BCS championship game. Saban, 62, denied he was interested in the job.
NFL Network reported Tuesday that Alabama and Saban were engaged in negotiations on a contract extension that would bump the annual salary of a new deal to the $7 million per season range.
In March, Saban received a contract extension from Alabama worth $5.62 million a year but then was offered another extension after the Crimson Tide finished the regular season with an 11-1 record. His current deal at Alabama runs through Jan. 21, 2020.
According to Orangebloods.com, Brown wants to do what's in the best interest of the school. An official confirmation of his resignation could come at the team's football banquet on Friday night.
If Brown does leave, his last game would be in the Valero Alama Bowl against Oregon.
Brown is under contract through the end of 2020. His 2013 compensation was $5.4 million. He would receive a $2.75 million buyout and other considerations and reassigned to an advisory role at the university with an annual salary of $500,000 through the end of his contract, according to Orangebloods.com.
Brown, 62, is second in career victories at Texas with 158, trailing only legendary Darrell Royal (167).
After nine consecutive 10-win seasons under Brown at Texas from 2001 to 2009, the Longhorns have gone 5-7 in 2010, 8-5 in 2011, 9-4 in 2012 and 8-4 this season.
Texas was hurt by numerous injuries this year but still had a shot at winning the Big 12 title before a 30-10 loss at Baylor last Saturday. That fourth loss made Brown the first coach in Texas history with four losses in four consecutive seasons.
Texas athletic director Steve Patterson said, "We continue to discuss the future of Texas football. Mack Brown has not resigned. And, no decisions have been made."
The UT Board of Regents is scheduled to meet Thursday.