Purdue football Coach Fred Akers will be fired at the end of this season unless the Boilermakers experience a major turnaround in their final five games, a newspaper reported Monday. The Indianapolis Star, quoting unidentified sources, including some in the Purdue athletic department, also reported that if Akers goes, athletic director George King, who is 62, may be asked to take early retirement.

Akers, contacted at home by the Lafayette Journal and Courier and asked about the report, replied, "That's news to me."Purdue is 1-5 this season, 0-3 in the Big Ten, and has scored only nine points in its last three games. Akers' record is 11-27-1 in four years at Purdue after 10 years as head coach at Texas (86-31-2) and two at Wyoming (10-13-0).

The Star reported that several factors have led to Akers' possible dismissal, including failure of the team to improve as expected this fall, an inability to retain players from good recruiting classes, continued off-field problems with some players, dwindling attendance at Ross-Ade Stadium and what the paper called Akers' "lack of acceptance by many members of Purdue's well-established old-boys network."