Gearhart whitewashes UA athletic depart. | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gearhart whitewashes UA athletic depart.

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2009 at 1:51 PM

I just had my attention called to an article by Nate Allen in today's Northwest Arkansas Times (not behind the subscription wall at the moment) on the University of Arkansas athletic department's failed effort to get a kickback from those signed up to provide medical services to Razorback sports teams.

The article represents a stumble for UA Chancellor David Gearhart, who's been off to a good start at Fayetteville. In it, Gearhart unconditionally backs Athletic Director Jeff Long's alibi that it was just an oversight that the athletic department failed to provide all relevant slides from a PowerPoint presentation to a Freedom of Information Act request from Arkansas Business. The missing slide, obtained elsewhere by AB, showed the athletic department was seeking $450,000 in "sponsorships" from medical groups hoping to serve athletes. Slimy stuff, if  the way of the modern collegiate athletic world. Nothing is free. Gearhart admits to Nate Allen that appearances aren't so great, but after much explanation, says:

“I am confident after talking to Jeff and others that they were not trying to hide anything or create any problem in that regard.”

One big problem with Gearhart's defense: According to Arkansas Business, Jeff Long plainly told reporter Chris Bahn that there were no plans for sponsorships -- until Long was confronted with the slide missing from the batch turned over to AB. THEN he said, “Oh, yeah, we did tell them that, and I apologize you didn’t get that info.” What a coincidence the missing piece solved the puzzle. Long then told Bahn that the sponsorship idea was just a "negotiation tactic." But do you think he'd have refused the money had a medical group offered it?

I wonder if Nate pressed UA counsel Scott Varady on the handling of this FOI request. It makes you wonder what other documents get overlooked when reporters come calling at UA. Also: Is the UA purging computer files so as to be able to claim it's fully complied with requests without having to divulge embarrassing information? Gearhart's investigation amounted to giving Long an opportunity to craft an alibi. And he prounounced it good.



Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas Supreme Court refuses to rehear invalidation of marijuana act

    The Arkansas Supreme Court today denied a request to rehear its decision invalidating Issue 7, the medical marijuana initiated act.
    • Nov 3, 2016
  • ADEQ denies C&H Hog Farm permit

    The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has denied a new permit for the C&H Hog Farms' concentrated animal feeding operation near Mount Judea (Newton County). This is a big and somewhat surprising victory for critics who have viewed C&H's large-scale pig farm and the pig waste it generates as an existential threat to the Buffalo National River.
    • Jan 10, 2018
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017

Most Viewed

  • The Tom Cotton Big Lie open line

    Here’s the Saturday open line with some info on Tom Cotton's attack on Clarke Tucker, apparently viewed as a threat to French Hill's re-election from the 2nd District.

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation