Damage control in Hogland | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Damage control in Hogland

Posted By on Thu, Sep 10, 2009 at 1:05 PM

ESPN reports that UA basketball coach John Pelphrey is on the road recruiting and putting out fires from players' role in what was, at best, a group sexual grope of a drunk freshman in a late-night frat house bacchanal. A friend in the sports world said Pelphrey was expected, but a no-show, at a golf tourney in NWA today. (A UA spokesman said that Pelphrey thought it important to be with his team today.)

ESPN's rundown of Hog basketball talent in the linked article mentions prominently several of those involved in the frat house incident, which the woman alleged was  nonconsensual assault. It also mentions prominently the basketball player (he's now been widely identified as guard Courtney Fortson) under whose name the ill-chosen Twitter remark was made earlier this week:

"Im gettin it at workouts like a dude who doesnt understand the word no from a drunk girl lol"

I asked the Athletic Department if it was aware of the player's Tweet. The answer is yes. Said a spokesman: "As Jeff Long referenced yesterday in his statement, student-athlete are responsible for their conduct under athletic department policies. As Mr. Long noted, the athletic department will take appropriate action when policies are violated."

ESPN"s senior basketball writer Andy Katz sees significance in Athletic Director Jeff Long's statement yesterday that there'd be a review of rules and policies in the matter, even though a decision was made that evidence didn't support the filing of criminal charges.

He made sure that everyone knew the matter is hardly closed. ...


Pelphrey can't afford his players to act in a questionable manner, even if it's not criminal. Long will make an attempt to determine if further action is taken against the three players. Pelphrey has no choice but to support any decision Long makes.


In Pelphrey's brief two seasons, the list of issues he has had to deal with is more than the number of SEC wins he picked up last season (two). ...

This is going to be a moment of testing, too, for new Chancellor David Gearhart. He'll defer to Long probably, but his actions will be viewed as having the full support of Gearthart. UA officials blundered badly -- on the side of basektball viability -- in the 1991 dorm incident (another group sex affair with conflicting stories from males and female). UA officials served then as accomplices in the trashing of a troubled woman. A replay of that sorry episode the UA doesn't need.

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