MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – Multiple reports indicate the Wisconsin Badgers football program is on the verge of making a massive hire.

According to Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal, the Badgers are finalizing a deal to hire head coach Luke Fickell from the University of Cincinnati. Reports from ESPN and the Athletic have corroborated this, and the UW Board of Regents is set to conduct a special session at 4 p.m.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison officially posted the head football coaching position on Saturday, November 19, placing a deadline on November 26 for “full consideration.” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, among others, reported that interim head coach Jim Leonhard was expected to get the job from sources both inside and outside the Badgers athletic department.

But Sunday morning, things changed in a moment that rocked the college football world.

Fickell, 49, became one of the most highly sought-after coaches in the country after leading Cincinnati to the College Football Playoff in the 2021 season, making the Bearcats the first Group of Five conference team to ever compete for a national title in the modern era.

The 2021 Home Depot Coach of the Year has posted a 57-18 record in six seasons at UC, his first full time head coaching job after spending more than 10 combined seasons as Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator. After the firing of Jim Tressel in 2011, he spent one season as the Buckeyes’ interim head coach and went 6-7.

Fickell was considered a long shot in the coaching cycle after reportedly turning down numerous job offers past three offseasons.

However, his buyout makes it extremely feasible for UW to make a sizable contract offer.

According to the terms of his extension, if Fickell leaves Cincinnati prior to January 1, 2023, his buyout is a meager $3.5 million. He is under contract with the Bearcats through 2026.

Wisconsin is reportedly expected to announce the hire Sunday evening.