Sources: Arkansas Has No Deal With Tuberville

FAYETTEVILLE — Despite multiple reports, Arkansas officials have not reached an agreement for Tommy Tuberville to be the school's next football coach, several sources told The Morning News on Thursday.

Tuberville has been mentioned as a potential candidate to replace Houston Nutt, who resigned Monday after 10 seasons with the Razorbacks.

But sources familiar with the situation disputed media reports claiming that Arkansas has reached an agreement for Tuberville to leave Auburn to coach the Razorbacks next season.

"I'm not looking to go anywhere," Tuberville said Thursday on his weekly Tiger Talk radio show, according to The Birmingham News.

Tuberville reportedly agreed in principle to a contract extension with Auburn earlier this week, but the talks have stalled because of several contractual issues.

Tuberville, a Camden native, left Auburn on Thursday for a previously scheduled duck hunting trip in West Helena. He's expected to meet with Auburn President Jay Gogue on Sunday.

A source close to Tuberville told The Morning News on Wednesday that the Auburn coach is a candidate to replace Nutt. But the source said Tuberville did not meet with Arkansas officials on Thursday.

Incoming Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, who's conducting the search to find Nutt's replacement, characterized the reports of Tuberville coming to Arkansas as "fantasy" during a news conference Wednesday night.

"I will say that many of the reports about an SEC West coach are extremely premature and actually aren't even premature," Long said. "They're fantasy."

Meanwhile, Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs told The Huntsville Times on Thursday night that Arkansas officials have not contacted him about getting permission to speak with Tuberville.

"I have not been contacted," Jacobs told the newspaper. "If that were true, with the kind of leadership they have, I feel certain I would be (contacted)."

Tuberville emerged as a possible candidate to coach Arkansas after Nutt offered his resignation to Chancellor John White on Monday morning.

Oakland Raiders coach Lane Kiffin and Texas Tech coach Mike Leach have also been mentioned as candidates.

Tuberville's contract includes a $6 million buyout, which could make it difficult and costly for Arkansas to hire the Auburn coach.

Speculation about Tuberville coming to Arkansas intensified when a private plane registered to David Griffin flew from Tunica, Miss., to Rogers Municipal Airport on Thursday morning.

The plane then flew to Auburn, presumably to pick up Tuberville and take him to his hunting trip in West Helena. The plane landed in Tunica at 12:33 p.m. Thursday.

Griffin, a farmer, tried to lure Tuberville to Arkansas in 1997 before Nutt got the job.

Mike Akin, a member of Arkansas' Board of Trustee, said he believed the board would be informed before a deal was finalized with a coach.

"I think we'd know before the final commitment was made," Akin said Thursday evening.

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