Jerry Tarkanian, known for his winning ways and his bitter battles with the NCAA, will leave UNLV after next season, sources close to the school's basketball program said. Three sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Tuesday that a deal had been worked out with Tarkanian in which he would coach only one of the two years remaining on his contract.
Tarkanian denied a deal had been finalized and said he planned to meet "in the next day or two" with UNLV president Robert Maxson to discuss his future.
The Nevada Regents met for five hours with Tarkanian on Monday at his request, then later said Maxson had full authority to handle the Tarkanian matter.
"I'm very torn up inside," Tarkanian said of recent problems, including the publication of photos showing three players on his 1990 national championship team with a convicted sports fixer.
Sources said in interviews with the Associated Press on Tuesday that keeping Tarkanian for another year will allow UNLV "an orderly transition."
"It will allow the university to go out and hire a big-name coach," said one source. "If you do something quickly, you don't have anybody to coach the team, you become sort of a joke as you try to field a team.
"If you don't want to do irreparable damage to the program, you better have an orderly transition."
Tarkanian has built the Runnin' Rebels into a basketball power since he became coach in 1973. But his record at UNLV _ 483-103 _ has been marred by a long-running battle with the NCAA.
The Rebels are banned from television and post-season play next season, the final resolution of a Tarkanian-NCAA battle dating to 1977.
The university recently submitted a response to an NCAA letter of inquiry citing 29 alleged infractions at the school, including the recruitment of New York City playground legend Lloyd Daniels. Tarkanian is believed to be involved in only a few of those allegations.
One source said the departure of Tarkanian from the UNLV program could be considered a positive step when the NCAA weighs possible penalties evolving from the publication of photos showing three UNLV players with convicted sports fixer Richard Perry.
Those charges brought expressions of concern from Maxson and the regents. One photo shows Perry in a hot tub with former players Moses Scurry, David Butler and Anderson Hunt. Another shows the four playing basketball on a court at Perry's Las Vegas home.
The coach says he warned his players in 1989 to stay away from Perry, who was convicted in 1974 of fixing horse races in New York and was involved in the 1984 Boston College basketball point-shaving scandal.