The best sources now list Ohio State with perhaps six candidates, and none of them is Alabama's Mark Gottfried. It's true that an early newspaper report speculated on the Ohio native leaving his alma mater for the Buckeyes, who lost their coach when it was revealed he had paid money to a prospect. That will almost certainly lead to an NCAA investigation, but probably not to any penalties. Historically, the NCAA does not penalize Big 10 teams for violations.
Pressed for disclosure, Ohio State officials said they had not contacted Gottfried.
In an non-interview conversation with ‘BAMA last Friday, Gottfried said no one representing Ohio State had contacted him "officially or unofficially."
So why hasn't Gottfried denied any interest in Ohio State, sworn undying loyalty to Alabama?
Probably because he was caught off guard. Because no one had contacted him, Gottfried would have had no reason to suspect he might end up rumored as a candidate for the coaching vacancy. After all, Gottfried only recently signed a contract extension that pays him about $800,000 per year. Crimson Tide Athletics Director Mal Moore said no one had contacted him for permission to speak to Gottfried, and Moore – who has been working closely with Gottfried on the $24 million renovation of Coleman Coliseum – said he felt sure Gottfried had no interest in leaving Alabama.
But when he took a team expected to finish at or near the bottom of the Southeastern Conference to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, it gets the attention of other schools.
Perhaps Gottfried wanted to avoid conversation about the situation until he knew for sure why his name had been brought up. After all, if Ohio State wanted to talk to him about a job paying perhaps $1.5 million per year, Gottfried would be foolish not to listen.
And even preparing for the day when he may have further negotiations on his Alabama contract, it won't hurt Gottfried to have had his name in that mix of hot names for jobs around the country.
The big negative would be in the recruiting arena, but Ohio State and Gottfried will have made their decisions long before next November's signing period.
Summertime is considered slow sports news time unless you are into professional baseball or the Olympics. The Ohio State-Gottfried connection looks like someone trying to fill that sports news void with speculation that has no basis.