WHO ME? Speculation says Gus Malzahn could be a $50 million man at UA.

The University of Arkansas has no athletic director as yet but this hasn’t slowed speculation that the UA is in serious pursuit of Arkansas native Gus Malzahn, a loser yesterday as head coach at Auburn in the SEC championship, to succeed Bret Bielema.

Again, I have no idea what the welter of confidential “sources” might be worth in this article. But gaining currency lately is a supposed willingness of Arkansas to pay Malzahn $50 million over seven years. No details on buyouts, guarantees or dealing with Malzahn’s obligations to Auburn through 2020.

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It might be — might be — despite the seeming popular support for Malzahn that the football search group is looking elsewhere. Maybe they’re also considering an up and comer at say Memphis or SMU who could be gotten for a paltry $2 or $3 million a year.

I’m comfortable saying this: Nobody should be paid $7 million a year to supervise game-playing by college boys (and, who knows, maybe even a girl someday like that state champion placekicker from North Little Rock). But I also understand that debate is over for now. Uncompensated athletes as cash cows, academic fraud, the NCAA monopoly, cable TV cord cutting, permanent brain damage — these are issues that someday might force a re-evaluation of priorities and spending at nominal education institutions. But not on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017.

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I’ll let you know when I learn the size of the latest jackpot.

UPDATE: at bowl game news conference today it sure sounded like Malzahn WANTS to stay at Auburn. Issue may be how badly they want him to stay. Maybe Arkansas should not be used and look elsewhere. Maybe they already are.  Relevant quotes from today’s news conference:

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— On if he has heard from Arkansas or had further discussions with Auburn: “I’m planning on being at Auburn. I told them last night that’s where I wanted to be, and nothing’s changed.”

— On if he wants to settle contract with Auburn: “Like I just said, I’m planning on being here at Auburn, and that’s where I want to be.”

— On if he or his reps have spoken to Auburn: “Nothing’s changed since last night.”

UPDATE: news breaking from Alabama of a new deal for Gus, maybe at $7 million a year and with an extension. On to Memphis or wherever for the Hogs. Gus played the Hogs for more dough at a school where he has a strong team coming back.