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SOURCES: UGA and Baylor Coach Scott Drew in Talks About Open Job

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NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Baylor Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Sources with knowledge of the situation have told DawgSports that representatives working on behalf of UGA have had contact with Baylor head basketball coach Scott Drew to gauge his interest in taking the same position at Georgia.

Sources confirmed that Drew didn’t slam the door on the possibility of coming to Athens, and he is open to further conversations about the job. It is expected that parties connected to UGA’s search will have subsequent contact with Drew in the coming days to further gauge Drew’s interest and find out what it would take for Georgia to hire him.

Drew has spent the last 19 years rebuilding the Baylor program in the aftermath of one of the worst scandals in NCAA history. His commitment paid off with a national title last season and his current team is currently ranked 3rd in the nation.

So why would Drew consider leaving Baylor after all this time? It is believed that Drew may lack faith in the future of the Big 12 Conference, and may not want to continue coaching in the league with Oklahoma and Texas leaving and BYU, Cincinnati, UCF and Houston entering. Building Georgia’s program within a SEC that has become an increasingly prestigious basketball league in recent years could be the type of challenge that Drew would be invigorated by. He’d also be joining the league at a time where coaching salaries are likely to skyrocket.

If Drew is looking to leave the Big 12, it could be because of what Texas and Oklahoma moving to the SEC means for the future of the Big 12’s per institution revenue. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told Texas lawmakers that the value of the Big 12’s media rights could be slashed by fifty-percent without the Longhorns and Sooners when he spoke before them last August. The addition of the four new teams will help raise that value some, but likely not enough to allow the league’s schools to keep up with the major revenue increases expected in other conferences when those leagues renegotiate their rights packages.

The SEC’s revenue could be as much as $1.3 billion a year when new rights agreements are struck for the 16-team league that will include Oklahoma and Texas. That means more money for facilities and coaching salaries. To see how that anticipated revenue bump is already effecting business within the conference you can look to Auburn’s recent pay raise for Bruce Pearl. Pearl will make an average of $6.275 million a year through 2030. The Tigers are also paying head football coach Bryan Harsin $5.25 million yearly.

Sources close to the search have maintained for weeks that UGA’s search would prioritize, “a smart, viable program builder who can recruit in-state and work the transfer portal,” over a headliner. If the Bulldogs were able to land Drew it would check both of those boxes.

Drew is widely considered one of the best coaches in college basketball, and he has also pulled key players out of Georgia for years. Davion Mitchell, an 2021 All-American and last year’s National Defensive Player of the Year is a native of Hinesville, GA. Mitchell transferred to Baylor after a year at Auburn. Duluth native Adam Flagler has been a key player for the Bears over the last couple of seasons after transferring from Presbyterian following his freshman year.

With Louisville, Maryland, and many other jobs open across college basketball, Georgia would have to fend off competition from many suitors to land Drew. The long list of suitors for his services may also be used in the negotiation of a new contract with Baylor. Since Baylor is a private school the details of Drew’s current contract are unknown. It is believed he makes somewhere in the range of $2.5-$3.5 million. The terms of Drew’s buyout have not been shared.

*This story was updated at 1:30 AM EST to include Information about the revenue packages of the Big 12 and SEC