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Sources: Shaka Smart’s Departure Likely

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NCAA Basketball: Texas at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been an interesting 24 hours in Austin. As the TCU game wound down, my phone started to vibrate. And vibrate. And vibrate. The rumor mill was swirling with some pretty surprising ideas, but I was hearing them from people not known to be wrong so I started to dig. I’ve hit up as many people as I can to see what I can gather, and I think Shaka Smart is leaving Texas at the end of the season.

I have three sources who have said some form of this, but more to the point I have zero sources saying Smart is definitely staying another year. The people I’ve talked to who believe Smart will be at Texas next season all seem to be operating from the assumptions I was working off of prior to yesterday, namely that the guaranteed money was too big to get past. I think - and to be clear, this part is my personal speculation - Texas is helping Shaka find another home in exchange for a reduction on the guaranteed money left on his deal.

As for the timing, I think it will happen sometime after Texas is eliminated from the Big 12 tournament, perhaps as late as after Texas is eliminated from the NCAA/NIT tournaments. But I believe it is a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. I could be wrong about this; if there’s some crazy postseason run or Texas/Smart are unable to find a landing spot then things could change, but it appears that the most likely path forward for Texas at this point is one without Shaka Smart.

If I learn more that confirms or contradicts this and I can verify it (as much as anything in the rumor mill can be verified) I will keep you posted.