CINCINNATI - University of Cincinnati football coach Butch Jones is denying reports he has accepted the University of Colorado's offer to become its new coach.
The Denver Post reported Wednesday afternoon that Jones has accepted the coaching job at Colorado. Scripps sister station KMGH in Denver reports that a source in the Colorado athletic department said it was a verbal agreement that they hope to finalize Wednesday night or Thursday after the school's Regents approve the contract.
Jones, who returned to the Queen City around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday evening after appearing at a press conference in Charlotte, N.C., to discuss his team's upcoming bowl game, denies any deal has been reached. Jones told 9 News sports anchor Dennis Janson he did not speak with anyone from CU Wednesday.
The sports information director at UC also told 9 News the report is completely false.
UC's president, Santa J. Ono, responded to the situation via Twitter. " Butch has told me the reports that he has accepted the CU job are absolutely false. I trust him," Ono wrote.
The reports a deal is anything but signed aren't just coming from sources in Cincinnati, though. CU spokesman David Plati has also denied the university has concluded its coaching search.
"We are still in the active process of hiring our next head football coach. We have nothing to confirm at this time, and no deal with anyone has been reached," Plati said in a written statement.
Sports Illustrated reporter Pete Thamel tweeted, " just reached out to Butch Jones, who said any report of him taking the Colorado job is 'absolutely false.'"
Jones was reportedly offered a five-year contract worth $13.5 million Monday during almost nine hours of meetings in Boulder with Colorado officials, including Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn, CU president Bruce Benson and school chancellor Phil DiStefano.
The buzz among UC and college football fans about Jones' possible departure grew to a crescendo over the weekend when Jones first visited Purdue University on Sunday and then followed that up with a meeting on Monday with the University of Colorado.
Jones' departure would mark the third time over the past 10 years that a UC head football coach has bolted for bigger opportunities.