On Tuesday, mixed into a profile of Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate, was the explosive allegation that Tate intentionally sabotaged a reported hiring of Ken Niumatalolo because he and the rest of the Wildcats’ roster didn’t want to play for the Navy coach.
Multiple outlets reported Jan. 12 that Arizona was moving in to hire Niumatalolo, and that afternoon Tate fired off this since-deleted tweet:
“I didn’t come to Arizona to run the tripple (sic) option.”
“I had to make sure I was heard, make sure the team was heard, because my teammates didn’t want to run the triple option, either,” Tate told Bleacher Report. “So the idea was to tweet it out, let it get traction, then delete it. I knew people reading it would say, ‘Why did he delete it?’ But that just magnifies it more.”
Appearing at Pac-12 media day on Wednesday, Arizona AD Dave Heeke addressed the report.
“Throughout the entire process, whether it was Khalil or other leaders in our football program, we were in conversations with them – about where we were going, keeping them informed, trying to understand what the best things are for the program,” he told the Arizona Daily Star.
This quote can be filed directly under “What else did you expect him to say?” category. Either Heeke admits that, yeah, Tate did undermine his hiring, or that he was prepared to move forward against his quarterback’s wishes.
“Khalil and I have a great relationship,” Heeke said. “Speculating and hypothesizing about the decision-making process, without any knowledge of it is, in my opinion, inappropriate and unfounded.”