ATLANTA – Rutgers might be in a position to upgrade at coach despite this scandal. Sources told CBSSports.com on Saturday that former UCLA coach Ben Howland is “intrigued” by the opening, and that third-party conversations designed to gauge possible interest on both sides have taken place. The sources added, however, that it’s too early to tell if the situation will develop into anything more because Rutgers president Robert Barchi said Friday the school’s new athletic director will be hired before its next men’s basketball coach. In other words, the direction Rutgers goes with its search for a new athletic director will, to some degree, dictate the way Rutgers goes with its search for a new coach. But a source told CBSports.com that Howland would have some supporters among Rutgers boosters based on his ability to recruit New York while he was the coach at Pittsburgh from 1999 to 2003, and that Howland would be interested because, quite frankly, he’d prefer to jump right back into coaching over sitting out a year. UCLA fired Howland last month after 10 seasons. He made seven NCAA tournaments in that span, including three Final Fours. He led the Bruins to the outright Pac-12 title this season with four first-year starters. Rutgers fired Mike Rice early Thursday — just two days after a video of him using gay slurs and pushing, shoving, grabbing and kicking players was made public. Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti, who saw the video in November but, at the time, chose only to suspend Rice for three games, was forced to resign early Friday.