Even though UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said publicly after the game he wouldn't consider firing Neuheisel during the season, we have learned for certain that that is exactly what's been contemplated since the end of the game Thursday night.
As sources indicated before the game, the foundation was there for Neuheisel to possibly be fired if UCLA lost in an embarrassing style. And of course, that's what happened Thursday.
What made it considered seriously snce the game were two things -- the brawl, and the overwhelming deluge from boosters. Once UCLA administrators truly evaluated the brawl, it was thought to be a big indication that the coaching staff does not have control of the program. That alone would give Guerrero enough reason to reverse his public statement about not firing Neuheisel in-season. And then, as you can imagine, some big donors have vehemently voiced their disapproval since the game.
It's not lost on the UCLA administration that the game against Cal this weekend is homecoming, and keeping Neuheisel in place for it could get a fairly uncomfortable reaction from the alumni and fans at the Rose Bowl Saturday.
At this time, which is early Sunday morning, the latest information we've received was an e-mail sent Saturday night that said it seems the momentum to fire Neuheisel, at least soon, has died down somewhat. Another good source indicated arlier that there would be quite a bit to work out if they did fire Neuheisel before the end of the season, and that could take a little more time than just the weekend. Perhaps this is one of the issues.
But you can be 100% certain that firing Neuheisel in-season is being seriously considered and, from everything we've heard from our sources, is still a possibility.
Regardless of when it's officially done, all of our sources are indicating that Neuheisel will not be coaching UCLA next season.
Update as of 9:55 a.m. Sunday:
Our sources are telling us that Neuheisel will coach the team this week and against Cal on Saturday.
We've been told, however, that it's week to week for him, and there's still a chance he could be let go before the end of the season.
We've also heard again that UCLA will absolutely have a new head coach for the 2012 season.
What We Reported Earlier:
We've also heard some other interesting things: UCLA is realizing it will have to do business differently to be successful in football. A plan to pay a football coach a salary competitive with the top 10 salaries in the country is being seriously considered. Part of the plan would be enough money to pay assistant coaches competitive salaries, improve practice facilities and find a solution to the academic restriction issues.
Many close to it all believe UCLA will be forced to do it, given its circumstances. It's not just about a successful football program itself; if it were we'd probably never see a change. But so many things are tied to each other. For instance, with a poor football season, UCLA boosters have and will threaten to pull their pledged donations from the Pauley Renovation, which is already in a shortfall. And there are other pressures coming into play, too. Because of the circumstances, timing, etc., it very well could be a situation that UCLA can't ignore like it has in the past.
And from what we've been told by sources close to many different situations, that if this happened, UCLA would clearly have a chance with some big-named coaches.
This is by no means saying that UCLA will definitely institute these changes, but it does appear, for the first time in UCLA's football history, that there is a legitimate chance UCLA could.