Sanford, AD discuss Rebels

UNLV football coach Mike Sanford met with athletic director Mike Hamrick for two hours Monday to discuss the state of the program, but there was no news of a contract extension.

The two are expected to meet again at some point, and an agreement about an extension could be reached then.

When asked whether an extension was discussed Monday, Hamrick said, “We talked about a variety of things.”

Among the topics were the team’s improvement, where it needs to grow, academics and other program-related details.

Hamrick had no additional comment. Sanford could not be reached for comment.

Sanford has one season remaining on his five-year contract. After winning two games each of his first three seasons, he coached the Rebels to a 5-7 record this year, their best mark since going 6-6 in 2003.

UNLV, however, failed on the final day of its season to become bowl eligible, losing 42-21 at San Diego State on Nov. 22.

But Sanford’s team showed enough improvement this season that Hamrick decided to bring him back for at least the final year of his contract. Now the questions are whether an extension will be any longer than one season and the amount of a buyout.

Under the current deal, a buyout would cost UNLV about $1 million for a staff changeover. Hamrick could try to reduce that figure in negotiations should he have to cut ties with Sanford, who makes $431,000, in 2009.

Sanford has good reason to be optimistic about his future. He returns quarterback Omar Clayton as well as most of his receivers and offensive linemen from an offense that averaged 25.6 points, up a touchdown from a year ago.

But Sanford faces major decisions about a defense that allowed a 32.6-point average.

He and his assistants have been aggressive in recruiting, getting commitments from four Scout.com top-100 players at their positions, including running back Bradley Randle (No. 49) and quarterback Caleb Herring (No. 63).

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914.

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