Kentucky fans hope and pray reports of John Calipari leaving for Arkansas are true

Kentucky Wildcats fans cheers after a play during their game against the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Kentucky Wildcats fans cheers after a play during their game against the Arkansas Razorbacks. / Clare Grant/Courier Journal / USA TODAY

The college basketball rumor mill started spinning at lightspeed on Sunday night with reports that Kentucky head coach John Calipari could leave for Arkansas.

One report claimed Calipari will be the head coach of the Razorbacks, barring a late setback. Several subsequent reports from national and local media suggested he is talking to Arkansas about their open job at the very least.

UPDATE: Pete Thamel of ESPN reported late Sunday that Calipari is finalizing a deal to become Arkansas' head coach. It will be official in 24 hours.

Normally, losing a national title-winning head coach would leave fans distraught. But Calipari's seat was hit in Lexington after a string of disappointing seasons. So a lot of Kentucky fans, who were disappointed when he wasn't fired, were actually rather excited about this unexpected turn of events.

Kentucky basketball fans react to John Calipari-to-Arkansas reports

While the reports of Calipari's discussions with Arkansas were initially from uncertain sources, some heavy hitters on both the Arkansas and Kentucky side of things have confirmed that talks are happening. Obviously, talking doesn't mean a deal is done, but simply engaging the Razorbacks suggests Coach Cal isn't planning to stick around Kentucky, where he has a "lifetime" contract.

Calipari won a national title with the Wildcats in 2012 and was a regular in the Elite Eight in his first decade with the program. But his recent results have left plenty to be desired. He has won just one game in the NCAA Tournament over the last four seasons, suffering embarrassing upsets to double-digit seeds along the way.

While some Kentucky fans are more than happy to show Calipari the door, not everyone is pleased. The question of who the Wildcats will replace him with looms large.

Will this be a care of "be careful what you wish for?" Or will Kentucky come out of it better off if Calipari does leave? A lot depends on what athletic director Mitch Barnhart does next.

Next. 5 John Calipari replacements Kentucky should target after coach leaves for Arkansas. 5 John Calipari replacements Kentucky should target. dark