MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- By the time West Virginia and Texas play at Mountaineer Field a week from Saturday, Oliver Luck could find himself in the unusual position of being the outgoing athletic director at one of the schools and the AD in waiting at the other.
It's not likely to be official by then but if it's going to happen, it could be all but signed and sealed.
Multiple reports in Texas have Luck, West Virginia's athletic director, as the front-runner to replace DeLoss Dodds in that position at Texas. That's nothing new. Luck has been considered a prime candidate since Dodds announced his pending retirement - he will step down at the end of August next year - early this month.
Now, though, at least one generally-reliable source - the website Orangebloods.com - reports that Luck and others could be interviewed as soon as this week and that Luck is the clear frontrunner. All that stands between him and the job could be a favorable interview with the seven-person advisory committee appointed to recommend a successor to Dodds and then an official stamp of approval from the next meeting of the Texas Board of Regents Nov. 13-14.
Orangebloods reports that also under consideration is Arizona State athletic director Steve Patterson, who, like Luck, holds a law degree from Texas. Others who have been approached - including Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick and Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione - have reportedly said they are not interested.
Luck, for his part, is remaining typically mum about the situation, much as he did a year ago when he was in the mix for the athletic director's job at Stanford, and refusing to comment.
Somewhat tellingly perhaps, though, Luck has not gone out of his way to deny interest in the position as other high-profile candidates have done.
There certainly exists the possibility that other high-profile candidates who wish to remain anonymous could emerge. But according to Orangebloods sources, Luck's name was atop the list submitted by the search firm Korn/Ferry International last week.
Why Luck would be interested in the job isn't hard to see.
Texas has by far the largest college athletic budget in the nation with more than $163 million in revenues for the fiscal year that ended in 2012. That's roughly double WVU's athletic budget and more than $20 million more than even second-place Ohio State. The school has spent $400 million on facilities improvements alone in the last two decades and has a 20-year, $300 million agreement with ESPN to produce the Longhorn Network.
Texas is not, however, without its major issues these days, not the least of which are declining rates of success in their three major sports of football, men's basketball and baseball. The coaches in all three sports - Mack Brown, Rick Barnes and Augie Garrido - are under fire and the new athletic director will have a huge influence on their fates and/or replacements.