Ohio University head basketball coach John Groce has met with his team, signaling that his nearly weeklong courtship by the University of Illinois is drawing to a close.
Ohio Athletics confirmed that Groce met with members of the Bobcat men's basketball team about 9:30 a.m. this morning, and both OU and Illinois have confirmed that news conferences will take place Thursday.
Ohio Athletic Director Jim Schaus will speak with media at 3:45 pm, while Illinois athletics officials said they'll introduce their new basketball coach at 2 p.m. EDT.
Multiple sources have confirmed that the news conferences will relay the news that Groce is leaving OU for Illinois.
As of 10:30 am, OU President Roderick McDavis had not been contacted by Groce or Ohio Athletics to inform him of the coach's departure.
The Chicago Tribune reported details of Groce's potential deal in a story posted Wednesday night. Groce was apparently offered $1.2 million a year for five to six years, but he later requested $11 million throughout eight years.
Meanwhile, top OU officials, including McDavis, have been working to secure additional funds to keep Groce in Athens.
"He's done a great job for our university and we're working hard to keep him, and yet we realized that there would be other opportunities for him as a result of the great job he's done," McDavis said Thursday morning in an exclusive interview with The Post.
However, given the imminent status of Groce's departure, McDavis said there would be no bridges burned were the coach to leave for a new job.
"These things become very personal and coaches tend to do what they believe is in the best interest of their family, and we respect that." McDavis said. "I certainly want everyone to know that we have worked very hard over the last three or four days to keep Coach Groce as our men's basketball coach."
—Post reporters Pamela Engel and Rob Ogden contributed to this report. Continue to follow The Post for updates in this developing story