AN OPEN LETTER to Rick Majerus from Ute fans:

Dear Rick,Was it something we said? One too many fat jokes? The weather? Restaurants? That must be it, because there can be no other explanation.

Go ahead, take a leave of absence, take leave of your senses, leave it to Beaver for all we care, but don't leave the U. We're just getting used to you and vice versa.

The rumor is that you're headed to Arizona State or to the pros after the season, and you know what they say about rumors: They're dirty, malicious - and almost always true.

The Arizona newspapers are crying for ASU to hire you, and that was before you beat archrival Arizona. They're reporting that you will be given 72 hours after Utah's final game to commit to ASU. For Ute fans, there's a small cloud hovering over the Final Four celebration this week.

Why go to Arizona? For the warm weather? Rick, we've seen you after a basketball game. You don't need to be warmer. Any more sweat rolling off you and they'll have to install a rain gutter around your waist. The only way you could get wetter is by jumping into a pool.

In Arizona, it's not the heat, it's the humi. . . no, it's the heat. You're going to have to chuck the sweaters, big boy.

In Arizona, half the population is retired, the other half works in convenience stores. There's nothing there but sand and golf courses. In place of grass, they have - and we're serious - gravel. Niiice.

No one has ever been able to figure out why anybody settled in Phoenix in the first place.

First pioneer arriving in the valley: Hmmm, no water, no vegetation, 125 in the shade, everything's brown and dry, there's nothing here but strip malls and snakes. What do you think?

First pioneer's wife: Perfect! We can golf all year and put gravel in the yard.

Rick, Arizona is not you.

Neither are the pros. The first time you see one of those NBA play-ers doggin' it on defense, you'll blow a gasket or something.

Think of the hassle of a move. You'll have to break in a new hotel staff. They'll expect you to keep your room reasonably tidy, and, let's face it, Felix Unger you're not. They'll complain that they can't get into your room for the piles of dirty clothes. They won't know the first thing about 3 a.m. room service.

You'll have to break in a new set of reporters and get them used to your schedule so they'll be ready for those phone calls you return at 2 a.m. You'll have to explain the difference between MDT (Mountain Daylight Time) and MST (Majerus Standard Time), which basically ignores night time.

(Is it Utah's cold weather, Rick? We'll work on it.)

You'll have to break in a new set of doctors. It won't be easy convincing them that the pizza-and-lasagna diet is actually good for you.

You'll have to hunt for a new Jon Huntsman, and you know how dif-fi-cult it is to find a good billionaire these days. Who's going to offer the team the use of his private plane?

(Is it a raise you want? Why would you want more money? It can't be for clothes.)

You'll have to send an advance party to scout restaurants.

You'll have to break in a new set of local NBA confidants because the Laydens are staying put. Somehow we just can't see you sitting down with Danny Ainge to ask for help with zone O.

You'll have to come up with a whole new set of jokes about the local environment. Salt Lake City was such a rich source of material for you. Think of all the jokes you made at our expense.

(What if they make you wear a tie?)

Rick, you're a big man about town here (pardon the expression). We've been through a lot together in nine years. The heart bypass surgery. Phil Dixon falling (or getting pushed, we were never sure which) through a window. Paul Afeaki getting shot. Josh Grant's knee injury. Antoine Davison. Darroll Wright. The .500 season. Those were the early days. Do you want to go through such growing pains again?

But it all paid off, didn't it? Six conference championships. Six NCAA berths. Four Sweet 16s. Two Elite Eights. One Final Four. And now you want to give it up for some troubled program in the desert or that bratty pro game.

Rick, we believe this time you're seriously considering a change of addresses, or, in your case, a change of hotels. We can read between the lines when you say it's more fun on the way up, that people expect more and more every year. You seem to be seeking new challenges. You say you've thought about trying your ideas in the NBA. But you're throwing away a good thing here.

Think about it.