One person who attended the meeting put it this way: “He didn’t say nothing about coming back or leaving.”
Instead, it was a standard end of season meeting for a team that went 23-14 and reached the NIT semifinals.
The No. 1 topic surrounding TCU basketball remains Dixon and UCLA. Dixon has yet to address the subject with his team since the Los Angeles Times named Dixon a leading candidate for the job earlier this week.
Dixon stated multiple times in recent days that he “doesn’t talk about other jobs.”
Multiple members of TCU administration were none too pleased when word spread that Dixon did not address the UCLA situation with his players, or staff.
But TCU hasn’t budged on letting Dixon out of a reported $8 million buyout in his contract, or significantly reducing it, a source confirmed. That is a hurdle in a potential marriage between UCLA and Dixon.
This is a blue-blood job most basketball coaches in Dixon’s shoes would covet. Plus, it’d be an opportunity for Dixon to return home and be closer to his parents and sister. But it might fall apart if TCU holds the buyout in place, potentially leaving the school with a disgruntled coach.
CBS Sports reported earlier Thursday that UCLA is focused on other candidates and Dixon had been recruiting for TCU, as questions linger whether his buyout can be reduced.
If Dixon is actually recruiting, that would be an NCAA violation. According to the NCAA basketball recruiting calendar, April 4-10 is a “dead period,” which means “no in-person recruiting contacts or evaluations, and official and unofficial visits by recruits to the college’s campus.”
Dixon is clearly not recruiting, nor is he commenting about a job he wants. If he does not get this job, a no-comment stance allows him a measure of deniability. He can always say he never talked about it, etc.
Buyout figures are seldom reasons why a coach does not leave. Dixon’s buyout figure to leave Pitt was $10 million; per sources, TCU paid Pitt $1 million.
Dixon, who grew up in North Hollywood, has stated that UCLA is where basketball started for him, and it remains one of the blue-blood programs despite its recent struggles.
He is 68-41 in three seasons at TCU, leading the program to the NIT championship in his first season. Dixon and the Frogs snapped a 20-year NCAA Tournament drought last season, and were among the top “snubs” from the Big Dance this season.