The Grobe probe:will Jim wear the robe, at Arkansas?

LITTLE ROCK — A University of Arkansas private fundraising arm approved a salary supplement Wednesday for Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe, a strong indication that Grobe will replace Houston Nutt as the Razorbacks’ coach.

There was no word from the university, however, on whether Grobe would replace Nutt, who quit Nov. 26 and was hired almost immediately at Ole Miss.

The Razorback Foundation raises funds privately for Arkansas athletic programs and pays coaches amounts far beyond their regular state salaries. Nutt, for instance, made $330,000 annually from the state but had a compensation package worth $1.5 million a year — much of the extra coming from Foundation funds.

Ralph Bradbury, a member of the Razorback Foundation’s board of directors, confirmed Wednesday night that the foundation had approved a deal for Grobe. He said he couldn’t confirm for sure that Grobe’s hiring was final because that issue remains in the hands of athletic director Jeff Long and Grobe himself.

“There’s absolutely no way I could confirm that it’s a done deal,” Bradbury said.

The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas reported on its Web site Wednesday night that Grobe would likely be introduced Thursday as Arkansas’ coach.

Grobe and Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Part of Bradbury’s hesitation to confirm Grobe’s actual hiring might stem from Arkansas’ search for a basketball coach earlier this year. The Razorbacks hired Dana Altman, who changed his mind and went back to Creighton the next day.

“You can have a press conference and still not be the coach,” Bradbury said.

Greg Kerr of NEWS 2 Sports said last night he thought Grobe would hit the robe, Rob Daniels of the News and Record is leaving the door open in today’s Thursday edition, Bradford Hines of 790 the Ball said chances are slim that we would see Jim agaim, The Arkansas Democrat and Gazette and the Arkansas News Bureau are rolling out the red carpet for Jim Grobe.

Is Grobe gone?