Jeff Hathaway isn't long for this cow college, it seems.
Just days after reports surfaced that Hathaway and athletic department personnel were being evaluated by an outside firm, the New London Day is now reporting that, according to anonymous sources, Hathaway is in buyout negotiations with UConn president Susan Herbst that would lead to his departure after eight years at the school.
From The Day's Mike DMauro:
The process could take "a few weeks" and likely longer, according to one of the sources, who said it is doubtful Hathaway will be the athletic director by the time classes begin in September. The sources had no knowledge of potential candidates for Hathaway's successor.
Despite a successful 2010-11 athletic season that ended in a men's basketball national championship, a Fiesta Bowl berth, a women's basketball Final Four and a baseball Super Regional, among other achievements, the findings of the outside firm suggested that "Hathaway's shortcomings as athletic director are numerous, including micromanagement and an inability to make timely decisions, such as with hirings and contract issues," according to The Day.
The Courant also noted that Jim Calhoun is one of several people close to the situation who has been angling for Hathaway's departure. The paper also notes that, among other failures, Hathaway hasn't been able to raise money for a new basketball training facility.
But, according to The Day:
Hathaway's most serious deficiencies, the sources said, centered primarily on fundraising revenues in consistent decline and a lack of attention paid to NCAA compliance. In both cases, the sources said, Hathaway failed to hire experienced replacements for former athletic fundraiser Paul Pendergast and former compliance director Bill Shults.
While mildly surprising, the news isn't exactly shocking. Not after the very public dust up this past spring between Hathaway and football donor Robert Burton. And if you've been following us long enough, you know that we've been expecting this move for some time.
UPDATE (4 p.m.): The Courant has just put out its report, which says that the school is only "exploring the possibility" of a buyout. But this is usually how things go -- one news outlet reports it's happening, another counters with the "Not happening yet, but it's pretty likely." Bottom line: Hathaway's days are numbered.
It also notes that while Calhoun is obviously not in Hathaway's corner, it "appears" that both Geno Auriemma and Paul Pasqualoni, who was hired by Hathaway just months ago, are behind him.
UPDATE NO. 2 (4:41 p.m.): This statement from Herbst was just sent in from the athletic department:
"Athletics is a vital part of UConn and there are many ways to evaluate the success of a collegiate athletic department – academic performance of student-athletes, NCAA compliance, fundraising and overall athletic success.
"We will be excellent stewards of public and private funds in all areas of the University. As a result, I will be reviewing all divisions of the University over time, but with great urgency, to make sure that we are serving this state in the best possible way. Accountability and excellence are our themes, going forward.
"The Division of Athletics is one of those areas of the university in which we have already begun this evaluation process."
The University of Connecticut will have no further comment on this issue.
Which a) tells us absolutely nothing we didn't already know, and b) does not include any denial of the buyout reports.