Jeff Long, UA athletic director, says he doesn't mind criticism. Really? | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Jeff Long, UA athletic director, says he doesn't mind criticism. Really?

Posted By on Sun, Jun 26, 2016 at 8:15 AM

click to enlarge SYMBOLIC: The vast expansion of Razorback Stadium, more expensive than anything ever undertaken at UA, is a statement of priorities whether tax or tuition money goes into it or not
  • SYMBOLIC: The vast expansion of Razorback Stadium, more expensive than anything ever undertaken at UA, is a statement of priorities whether tax or tuition money goes into it or not

Tom Murphy of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
got some quotes from University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long for his article this morning about the department's $105 million budget for the year beginning July 1, an 8 percent increase over this year.

The article included mention of the proposal for a $226 million construction project at Razorback Stadium (our figure includes the interest on the bond issue, not the base $160 million price). The UA Board voted 8-2 to endorse the project, with former Gov. and Sen. David Pryor speaking at length in opposition. Wrote Murphy:

Certainly Sen. Pryor is entitled to his views, and he expressed them eloquently," Long said. "I don't get upset with people having a different point of view.
Chuckle. My own experience suggests otherwise. A response to Long on Twitter some months ago, so innocuous I can't recall it, earned me permanent blockage from Long's Twitter account. His assistant Kevin Trainor is allowed to respond (probably because the law provides no option) to Freedom of Information Act requests from the Times. Long responses to questions? Never.

click to enlarge screen_shot_2016-06-26_at_7.42.23_am.png

It is possible that Long's brusque style has influenced some of the reaction to the project, including strong negatives among at least a handful of ultra-rich and influential people who've contributed heavily to Hog athletics in the past. (Think John Tyson, who joined the letter from former UA trustees objecting to the project.)

The usual sports junkies cheerlead the project (on a talk show Friday, the only negative comment I heard was a question about why Long just didn't be done with it and complete the "bowling" of the stadium, rather than retaining the northeast gap, a distinctive feature I actually like.) But there's been plenty of criticism in editorial columns, letters to the editor and elsewhere about out-of-whack priorities.

Yes, everyone else in big-time football is out of whack. Yes, the department pays its own way — thanks particularly to TV contracts and high-dollar football stadium seats. But it could not do so without the brand of a public university that happens to currently be experiencing rising tuition, mediocre faculty pay and deferred needs  — a particularly symbolic shortcoming is the crumbling Senior Walk on which the names of all UA graduates are inscribed.

The Athletic Department's 8 percent budget increase (in a year when state agencies are facing effective reductions and no employee pay raises) did not include an increase in the amount it shares with the university at large. It held firm at $2.35 million, which represents an actual drop in percentage of revenue shared with the university. Athletic department defenders would counter that sports success generates other benefits — students, general contributions and more. 

Let that perpetual argument continue. The appearance of the thing is inescapable. A quarter-billion-dollar addition to a facility used six times a year (and rarely sold out) is about to rise within view of academic buildings where the deans make half the salary of a defensive line coach and their offices don't begin to match what's planned for the north end zone facility that's home to the head office of Hog Inc.

Hard as it is to believe, a large number of people think the state's future success is tied more to education than football. 

Tags: , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Obamacare wrecking crew has new legislative wrinkles

    Backers of the Graham-Cassidy legislation to repeal Obamacare are madly trying to amend the bill to win over enough Republican senators for passage. It makes it even worse, if by worse you mean reduces health coverage for Americans.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Conway coffee shop apologizes for white supremacist gathering

    A white supremacist gathering at a Conway coffee shop sparks a social media controversy and an abject apology.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Central High at 60: Seize the day mayor. Stand up for LR schools.

    The conversion of a national debate on race is an apt commentary for the 60th anniversary of the Little Rock school crisis and the city's effort to sell it as an occasion to laud progress. Progress would be someone talking about the elephant in the room — the white establishment's takeover of the majority black Little Rock School District.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • In Little Rock, Marco Rubio sells American exceptionalism

    This is Rubio's axiomatic answer to Donald Trump's insistence that he and he alone will Make America Great Again: America is the greatest, always has been.
    • Feb 22, 2016
  • The inspiring Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Clinton's campaign for president illustrates again the double standard applied to women. Some writers get it. They even find the supposedly unlikable Clinton inspiring.
    • Oct 16, 2016
  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation