Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther will be around a little longer. He just doesn't know how much longer. After meeting with Illinois president Michael Hogan last week, Guenther's contract that originally ran through 2010 was extended through the academic year. That gave Guenther and Hogan a chance to see how a new hierarchy comes together.

Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther will be around a little longer. He just doesn't know how much longer.

After meeting with Illinois president Michael Hogan last week, Guenther's contract that originally ran through 2010 was extended through the academic year. That gave Guenther and Hogan a chance to see how a new hierarchy comes together.

"What I'm committed to is to get (Hogan) the help he needs to get through this transition period,'' Guenther said Tuesday. "I wanted to address (Guenther's status) now, but I think we have to push it back and let them stabilize their administrative structure.

"There are projects to be done. On the other side, there are administrative changes, and you have a new board. It might be good time to make a change in my chair as well. I need to work though that with him. The key word for me if we move on is some kind of succession plan. I just hope we can be upfront and try to work through that in the next several months.''

Guenther, 64, also said it was possible he would remain on the job past June 30. The school's administrative structure might change, Guenther said, with the last important piece in the hierarchy the hiring of a chancellor, or vice president, to run the Urbana-Champaign campus.

"I don't want to commit to that either until I understand the structure and have a chance to sit down and look at my own personal situation,'' Guenther said. "I'm in my 19th year. I have a quite few years invested in this institution. At some point, there's going to be a change of leadership. We have to decide if now is the time.''

The timetable could also change this fall if the Illini football team struggles again. It would be a tough situation for a lame-duck atheletic director to hire a football coach. Guenther would likely get a good feel for football by the end of September.

Otherwise, Guenther is moving forward on renovation plans for Assembly Hall, a path the university remained committed. A renovation of the building that opened in 1963 would run between $150 million and $200 million.

The project wouldn't get under way without the selling of naming rights that would serve as a major portion of the funding. Illinois has contacted several companies within the state about the 30-year deal that could cost $65 million.

"We've had that thing on the rocket pad for a while,'' Guenther said. "We definitely know this building is in good condition and that we're going to renovate it.''

The athletic department will survey Illini fans and boosters this fall about their interest in luxury suites in Assembly Hall, therefore giving Guenther an estimate on the market value of the premium seating. Improved restrooms and concession stands are part of the plan along with escalators and air conditioning.

The plan still calls for lowering the floor, thus roughly doubling student seating near the floor to 1,400 without disrupting sight lines for seating above.

"Now we're at the point that I'd like to push that building forward,'' Guenther said.

Guenther also liked the way Zook handed over some of the responsibility to coordinators.

"I challenged him: what do you do well, what do you do poorly, where do you think it fell apart,'' Guenther said.

The easiest makeover -- firing the staff -- is also the most expensive, Guenther said.

The Big Ten Conference divisions will likely be released before Sept. 15, Guenther said. The conference worked on two models with the base of operation being competitiveness between the divisions.

John Supinie can be reached at Johnsupinie@aol.com.