UA Board meets in executive session for more than three hours, no action on Razorback athletics | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, November 9, 2017

UA Board meets in executive session for more than three hours, no action on Razorback athletics

Posted By on Thu, Nov 9, 2017 at 12:15 PM

click to enlarge FACE IN THE CROWD: Jeff Long at UA board meeting today. - KARK
  • KARK
  • FACE IN THE CROWD: Jeff Long at UA board meeting today.

UPDATE: After more than three hours in executive session on unspecified personnel matters, the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees reconvened in regular session about 12:10 p.m and took no action relative to Athletic Director Jeff Long or Hog football coach Bret Bielema.

Both Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz and Jeff Long were on hand for the session, and Long was seen sitting outside the executive session room for much of the session. But when the Board re-emerged, they simply resumed business and made no mention of what was discussed, apart from ratifying action on some non-controversial appointments.

Nothing pertaining to athletics was on the printed agenda and no announcement was made that athletics were to be discussed when the board went into executive session shortly after 8:45 a.m. But sources have been telling the Arkansas Blog since Saturday that several members of the Board have been pressing for a change in athletic department leadership, in part, but not only, because of the poor record of Bielema's football team.

Two sources last night indicated strong support for a change. But one source said some trustees favored giving Long an opportunity to finish the $200 million stadium expansion or to nail down other work before any change was finalized. Those dynamics could have affected the forming of any consensus. Or the chancellor might have stood up for Long and defused the criticism.

Long's contract runs through June 30. He's paid about $1.1 million a year. Bielema's contract runs through 2020. He's paid more than $4 million a year, but can be terminated at any time with a buyout clause worth about $5.9 million.

Trustee Mark Waldrip of Moro spoke for the Board to reporters after the meeting as vice chair (chair Ben Hyneman had left) but said little. He said matters discussed in executive session were private and "not properly discussed" outside.  He said Long himself was not in the executive session. He refused to confirm or deny athletics were discussed.

What I wrote earlier:

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees went into executive session this morning during its regular meeting at Pulaski Tech.

Jacob Rosenberg reports from the meeting that the motion to convene in private covered appointments to the UA-Little Rock Board of visitors, granting of emeritus status to professors and "employment of various positions."

No specific mention was made of athletics. UA Athletic Director Jeff Long, focus of criticism from several board members in recent days, is in the crowd gathered for the meeting.

 Long and Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz (seen behind Long in photo above) joined the board in executive session about 10:30 a.m., or at least a portion of the building where the session was held, but it's not clear if Long himself joined the session. It was finally completed at 12:10 p.m.

UPDATE: The UA Board adjourned without taking public comments on a proposed change in tenure policy. Some faculty members were present to speak, but were told it could be discussed later.

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