If Eddie Sutton doesn't resign, he is expected to be fired within a few days as coach of Kentucky's basketball program, according to a published report Saturday.
The story said action could be taken at the board of directors meeting of the Kentucky Athletic Association."The athletic board is going to meet next week and that may come up," Sutton said in an interview with CBS-TV on Saturday, "but I have not been asked to resign at this point."
The (Louisville) Courier-Journal quoted anonymous sources as saying that although Sutton is not personally named in 18 NCAA allegations, there are three primary reasons the school would want him out.
- One Kentucky official told the newspaper that there will be no real chance of rebuilding the program under Sutton after the National Collegiate Athletic Association action is complete.
If Sutton remains until the NCAA's Committee on Infractions rules on Kentucky's case sometime this spring, he has little hope of enticing any blue-chip recruits to Lexington, given the uncertainty of his own status. That means another year of approximately the same level of play Kentucky exhibited in its 13-19 season, its first losing record in 62 years, the official said.
- Sutton's removal at this juncture could soften any penalties Kentucky receives. The Infractions Committee has criticized other universities for sticking with the same coaching staff after athletic scandals hit those schools.
Kentucky president David Roselle, head of the Kentucky Athletic Association's board of directors, has already moved toward rebuilding the program by hiring a man with a spotless reputation, Vanderbilt Coach C.M. Newton, as director of athletics.
- Roselle and other officials believe that Sutton has recruited too many academically deficient players.
Sutton, who has a 90-40 record as the Wildcats coach, said Friday he didn't know anything about his future at Kentucky. The coach said he was heading for a recruiting trip at a national junior college basketball tournament in Kansas.
Sutton said earlier last week that he did not plan to resign.
Roselle was unable to summon the board's members to a meeting last week because of spring break. The newspaper said there should be no problem getting the members together sometime early this week.
Roselle and other Kentucky officials expect the school to face significant penalties from the NCAA, which has investigated the basketball program for most of the past year.
If the board is asked to terminate Sutton's contract, the action would come a year before it expires April 2, 1990. Even Sutton and his attorney, Terry McBrayer of Lexington, concede that Roselle, who appoints the board's members, can easily carry the day.
If Sutton's contract is terminated, Kentucky would still be obligated to pay off the remaining year at more than $80,000. Kentucky would be under no further financial obligations to Sutton for other money he makes as Kentucky coach.