Very Latest on Rick Barnes' Future

HornsDigest.com reported on Wednesday in HD Only that two top sources close to the situation said it wasn't likely Rick Barnes would be back for an 18th season as the all-time winningest basketball coach at Texas.

I was told Friday afternoon by a top source there would be no decision over the weekend. But Barnes is likely to decide if he's stepping down by Monday, because he picks up a buyout of $1.75 million before Tuesday (April 1), when his contract buyout drops to $1.5 million.

Sources close to the UT basketball program said Friday they had not been told by Barnes or anyone else at UT of a final decision on the 60-year-old Barnes' fate. Some of Barnes' closest confidantes had not gotten a response from the Texas coach since Tuesday, when Barnes and Texas athletic director Steve Patterson first met about the direction of UT's basketball program, sources said.

HD reported Patterson told Barnes in the Tuesday meeting that he supported Barnes and was fighting for him to return to Texas but that others "above" Patterson wanted Barnes to step down.

The Austin American-Statesman, The Dallas Morning News and San Antonio Express-News on Thursday night all quoted a source close to Patterson saying Patterson wanted Barnes to make significant changes, including staff changes, or he'd face termination.

As I've reported for two weeks, I was told Steve Patterson met with UT administration officials about budgets for 2015-16 and said athletics needs to raise $70 million in the next 12 months toward a new basketball arena. And I was told Patterson was very concerned about the ability to do that if Barnes returned, and there wasn't remarkable improvement to energize the UT fan base.

And just because there has been no announcement as of yet (most likely Monday), doesn't mean a decision on Barnes' future - by UT's 17-year coach or by Patterson - hasn't already been made.

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