It's 2 months before the beginning of basketball season. After a hectic summer schedule, basketball prospects and recruits across the country are making decisions that will affect basketball programs for years to come. Why is University of Cincinnati President Nancy Zamphir kicking Coach Huggins to the curb? No one seems to know, but it must be something BIG! It's not just the timing of this that is a red flag, the way this has been handled signals that there's a major problem and UC. Huggins is a coaching legend at UC, having taken the program to 15 straight NCAA tournament appearances. Moreover, UC is joining the Big East this year, making this a critical time in the school's basketball future.
Current players and prospective recruits are all likely to bolt as the program implodes. Promoting assistant coach Andy Kennedy may help the school retain some of the current players, but the program's ability to attract talent will be destroyed. Huggins is particularly close to current players Eric Hicks, James White, Armein Kirkland and Jihad Muhammad, so expect all four to bolt if Kennedy isn't offered or doesn't accept the interim head coaching post. If Brandon Rush does not turn out to be academically eligible, is there a prospect at UC that the Jayhawks can snatch up?
Huggins' DUI arrest last summer, while bad, certainly isn't worth the destruction of Huggins' career and the UC basketball program. Other than the DUI arrest and some over-publicised bickering between Zamphir and Huggins, no other justification for the University's actions has been provided.
This decision will cost the school financially as well. Huggins is apparently entitled to $2 million over the next two seasons. Zamphir has reportedly already offered Huggins a $3 million buyout package if Huggins resigns effective today. I imagine that alumni and other UC faithful must be wondering why their donation dollars are being spent in this way. Don't they deserve an explanation?
I can't help but speculate under these circumstances that there is a bomb at UC that is about to explode. NCAA violations? Criminal conduct? The nature of the problem remains to be seen, but rest assured that this will be a "dirty bomb" that will explode in the next few days. Rumors abound. The truth remains to be seen.