THE RECENT EXODUS of basketball players from Oregon State has changed the mind of Oregon State AD Bob De Carolis. After sending out an open letter of support March 29 on Craig Robinson, De Carolis abruptly changed course and fired hoops head coach Craig Robinson on Monday morning.

Craig Robinson has been relieved of his duties at OSU, it was first reported by Sports Illustrated, and later confirmed by other media outlets. Update: OSU just confirmed the news in a release. The timing is unique, coming so long after the season ended and after the public support from De Carolis.

"I'm looking forward to watching Coach Robinson continue to build our program," De Carolis wrote in an open letter to fans, announcing his decision to retain Robinson on March 29. "He is a man of great character and someone who represents Oregon State University with integrity. I ask for your continued support of Beaver basketball."

The Beavers were 16-16 last season and lose all five starters -- three players with eligibility remaining chose to transfer since De Carolis' letter. Hallice Cooke is transferring, and Challe Barton is going pro overseas, which were unexpected moves. The departure of Eric Moreland, who declared for the NBA draft, was somewhat expected.

Meanwhile, guard Roberto Nelson, forward Devon Collier and center Angus Brandt all completed their eligibility this past season, as did Langston Morris-Walker.

Robinson has three more years remaining on this contract and OSU is expected to owe him more than $4 million, which is one of the major reasons Robinson was expected to return.

Robinson began his tenure at Oregon State with a 18-win season in 2008-09, taking over a team that had lost 21 consecutive Pac-10 games. But OSU couldn't sustain momentum and build upon that.

Robinson finishes his OSU tenure 93-104.

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