"Hey Jim, Tony here. These guys are leaving, so....I'm just gonna go ahead and bail too...it's cool, right??"
Ok, that conversation hasn't happened and probably wouldn't happen. But the rumors and speculation are flying high tonight, so we'll round it up for you in one pretty/ugly package.
- P-I's Dan Raley claims that Bennett isn't telling the truth, and that his source says he's got the offer in front of him now and has until high noon on Sunday to become the next coach at Indiana. This echoes what is coming from the Scout.com site for Indiana, as they are claiming that the offer is in hand and the clock is ticking. It is his job if he wants it at this point, and he has to decide by tomorrow.
- Someone named Gary Parrish at CBS says that Bennett has roughly 24 hours to accept or refuse the offer, and that sorry, but it has been made. Parrish goes on to speculate that if he turns it down, he will use it as a loyalty play to WSU and hopefully get what he's after, which is the charter plane, assistants raises, etc. Interesting angle.
- ESPN's Andy Katz said settle down, those rumors last night aren't exactly true and Tony himself claimed today he hasn't been offered anything. I later heard Katz on ESPN radio this afternoon, and he was asked point-blank what is going on with Bennett and WSU/IU/CAL. Katz wouldn't even really speculate on Bennett, but he stuck to his view that IU will get their coach by the Final Four, but wouldn't say anything about Bennett. He did mention Mike Montgomery as a great fit at either IU or Cal, but he didn't say anything about Bennett.
- The Daily Evergreen says that Sterk will issue a press release tonight, claiming that Tony hasn't been contacted, there is no job offer, you name it. Basically it will be a rehash of what Sterk told Vince at the SR.com blog, which you can see here. It's a pretty strong denial from Sterk right now.
I think Katz and Vince are who we should listen to right now. They are the two closest sources out there on this. I especially think Katz is who we should focus on right now. Not because he's saying things that I think we want to here, but because of the background with Katz and the Bennett's. Katz is an ESPN guy, but he's a Wisconsin guy all the way. He graduated from Wisconsin, and worked at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal. He knows the Bennett's very, very well, and was seen with them personally several times during the tournament. I have no doubt Katz knows what is going on.
Get all that straight? Pretty flippin' NUTS right now isn't it? Our source hasn't said a thing, so I wish we had more to offer. Personally, and simply gut-feeling time, but I think he's going to stay. I am choosing to take him at his word, and he's gone out of his way to say that WSU is a great place for him and his family. This is on the record, and also, off the record stuff that many people claim they have heard from Tony himself. STAY TUNED!