The Nashville Tennessean is reporting that Tennessee may be targeting South Carolina AD Eric Hyman. Here's the money quote from the NT article:
While current athletics director Steve Orsini of SMU has been mentioned prominently in some reports, it is believed that there is a bigger name on UT’s list. And key members of UT’s search committee have expressed optimism that an agreement with this person will be struck in the next couple of weeks.
The target could be Eric Hyman of South Carolina. And while I’m not a big fan of hiring within the conference, Hyman is well respected around the SEC. Plus, he knows the turf.
Carolina fans should be very concerned about these reports. While some fans have expressed dissatisfaction with Hyman due to the controversial YES Program and rises in ticket prices, most have assessed Hyman's performance as strong. Before joining Carolina, he worked at TCU, where he laid the foundation for the Horned Frogs' recent athletics success. At USC, Hyman has introduced programs that have brought USC's formerly problematic revenue figures more in line with those at elite SEC athletics programs. He has also overseen an overall improvement in the athletics programs at USC. Although he didn't hire Ray Tanner or Steve Spurrier, he's supported these two coaches and given them what they believe they need to compete for titles. He has done so all the while navigating USC through potential scandals. He and his compliance department's handling of these scandals has kept USC from committing major violations and off probation. As the NT reports, Hyman is well respected for the changes he has implemented at USC. He's a solid AD and someone we should want to keep in Columbia.
What is the likelihood of his leaving? It's hard to say. There are pros and cons to both decisions. Perhaps the biggest pro for leaving for UT is the money. Hyman currently makes around $400,000 at USC. UT was preparing to offer Georgia Tech AD Dan Radakovich $800,000 before the scandal at GT broke, and one would expect the numbers to be similar for Hyman. Hyman might also be swayed by the opportunity to be AD at a premier athletics department. However, Hyman is set to begin garnering retirement funds from USC in the coming years, which complicates the financial comparison to a certain degree. Moreover, UT is currently facing potential sanctions in both football and basketball. Hyman's job would be to clean up the athletics department, not exactly an enviable position. While UT is traditionally a much more attractive locale than USC, it doesn't appear that that will be the case over the next few years, with UT on the skids and USC on the rise. Hyman will have to keep that in mind, as well.
With all of this said, this will probably come down to money over all things. $400,000 vs. $800,000 is a big difference. If UT is serious about Hyman, USC may have to pony up a little more cash to keep its talented AD in Columbia. Let's hope that it's prepared to do so.