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Someone's Lying: USF & Dave Rice Disagree On Whether He Has A Job Offer

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Well this got weird. And someone is full of it.

Ethan Miller

Let's get you up to speed on the latest chapter of the drama of the USF coaching search. Because last night it went full soap opera.

First came this report from the Las Vegas Review Journal which said Rice had a six-year, $1.3 million per year offer to coach the Bulls. That report was then confirmed by KVVU Fox 5 in Vegas, which said Rice directly confirmed he had an offer from USF to be the coach when he landed at McCarran Airport.

Obviously this isn't good for a university that already had to jettison one coach with a contract offer due to his lack of a college degree. If Rice says no, USF has publicly been spurned by another target, and the next guy is the third choice for the job at best. And I'm not the only one that thought so:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Pure speculation: After Masiello fiasco, have to think <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23USF&amp;src=hash">#USF</a> confident UNLV&#39;s Dave Rice would take job before offering it.</p>&mdash; Joey Johnston (@JJohnstonTBO) <a href="https://twitter.com/JJohnstonTBO/statuses/449663570419384321">March 28, 2014</a></blockquote>

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For whatever reason, the Bulls began to push back through the two USF everyday newspaper beat reporters: Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times and Joey Johnston of the Tampa Tribune.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>Meantime back in Tampa, NO OFFER has been made by <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23USF&amp;src=hash">#USF</a> to UNLV&#39;s Dave Rice, the <a href="https://twitter.com/TB_Times">@TB_Times</a> has learned</p>&mdash; Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) <a href="https://twitter.com/TBTimes_Bulls/statuses/449735379919581184">March 29, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>UNLV coach Dave Rice to <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23USF&amp;src=hash">#USF</a>? Not tonight. No offer yet, says source in Tampa. Meanwhile in Vegas, AD says she will meet w/president Sat.</p>&mdash; Joey Johnston (@JJohnstonTBO) <a href="https://twitter.com/JJohnstonTBO/statuses/449753475791216640">March 29, 2014</a></blockquote>

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I know both Joey's, and both are experienced and professional reporters that are very good at what they do. Neither of them would write the above unless they were talking to someone that would be authorized to speak for USF, or someone that would have direct knowledge of the situation. This isn't taking an off-handed comment from a low-level staffer: these leaks came from the top or someone in a position to know. And when both write something like that within about an hour of each other, it would seem to be part of a coordinated plan to push back.

However UNLV Ad Tina Kunzer-Murphy then directly refuted what the Joey's were told:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>UNLV ad Tina Kunzer-Murphy on Rice: &#39;Dave does have a solid offer from South Florida. I really think that tomorrow we’ll have it resolved.&#39;</p>&mdash; Matt Youmans (@mattyoumans247) <a href="https://twitter.com/mattyoumans247/statuses/449753421864660992">March 29, 2014</a></blockquote>

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So basically someone is full of it. It's either Dave Rice or whomever the source is to the Joey's. So who do you believe? Most public opinion seems to be leaning this way:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>If USF has NOT offered Dave Rice, why did it take so long for that info to get out?</p>&mdash; Geoff Grammer (@GeoffGrammer) <a href="https://twitter.com/GeoffGrammer/statuses/449735694013837313">March 29, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>If USF hadn&#39;t offered Rice, I think they&#39;d have said so when reports of the Rice offer was out hours ago. ... Sounds like backpedaling.</p>&mdash; Geoff Grammer (@GeoffGrammer) <a href="https://twitter.com/GeoffGrammer/statuses/449740031553314816">March 29, 2014</a></blockquote>

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I don't know Dave Rice, but a well-known and respected basketball coach is telling the media and his bosses in Vegas he's got an offer to coach USF. If he doesn't, he's being pretty brazen in his lying here. Rice is willing to talk and be attributed in the media, and USF isn't.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>A bit earlier tonight, we were told no offer to Rice. As of 11:30, <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23USF&amp;src=hash">#USF</a> officials won&#39;t confirm the <a href="https://twitter.com/FOX5Vegas">@FOX5Vegas</a> (&amp; other) reports of offer</p>&mdash; Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) <a href="https://twitter.com/TBTimes_Bulls/statuses/449750339412316160">March 29, 2014</a></blockquote>

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It's going to be on USF to show they didn't get totally played here and leveraged by Rice for a better deal and some more commitment from UNLV for his program. Because right now, that's certainly what it looks like.