Fayetteville television station KNWA-TV — Eazy-E and Ice Cube reporting — have posted a story claiming that Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long has been approached by Stanford regarding their AD spot. Bob Bowlsby is leaving that school to take over as the Big 12′s new commissioner.
According to KNWA anchor Matt Turner on the station’s website:
“Jeff Long is one of the candidates to replace Bob Bowlsby as the new athletic director at Stanford University. That’s according to three separate sources close to the situation, and one of the people providing the information is a school official at the University of Arkansas.
The primary source, who wants to remain anonymous, says Stanford officials have “reached out” to Long about filling the vacancy but added that Long has not yet responded to the inquiries.
The source also said that Long is not a finalist for the job despite rumors circulating on internet message boards.”
It would make sense for Stanford to reach out to Long. He has shown that he can lure in just about any big fish he sets his mind to when it comes to coaches. He’s overseen an increase in UA’s athletic budget and spearheaded the school’s drive to build bigger and better facilities. He’s viewed as one of the top athletic directors in the SEC — which is saying something — and the nation.
While he ultimately wound up taking a figurative punch to the ribs for hiring Bobby Petrino, the ex-coach did improve the fortunes of the Razorback football program before he wrecked his motorcycle and his career.
Speaking of Petrino and messageboards and even anonymous email tips, yes, we’ve heard the conspiracy theories regarding Petrino, his one-time mistress Jessica Dorrell and her ex-fiance Josh Morgan. All three are now ex-Razorback employees. The chatterers in social media have suggested everything from the fiance driving the pair off the road to taking a baseball bat to the coach’s noggin.
“Why else would he look so bad while she escaped major injury?” Uh, because Petrino was in front and Dorrell on the back of the motorcycle. Because she had a helmet on and he didn’t.
Sorry, not buying that one. One cop may have helped Petrino get to the hospital, but no officer of the law — knowing he could lose his job — would cover up an assault.
That said, there is a rumor floating around among media types in the Natural State and it’s something we wondered about at the time of the Petrino fiasco — What did Long know of the relationship and when did he know it?
Some in the Arkansas media believe Long and others inside the UA athletic department were aware of the Petrino-Dorrell relationship well before the two crashed the coach’s bike. Anonymous sources have given them that information, but no one has gone on the record to confirm it. If true, it would mean Long knowingly allowed Petrino to hire his mistress and that he helped speed up the process at the coach’s request.
We’ve been waiting since mid-April for Long to have to explain what he knew, when he knew it, and how something like Petrino’s hire of Dorrell was allowed to take place on his watch (whether he knew anything about their relationship or not). And we don’t mean putting out a press release expressing shock.
Some members of the Arkansas media are now asking those questions and they’re hearing reports that he might have known more than he initially suggested, though for now those are only rumors. Whether anyone inside the UA athletic department will roll over on the situation — if there’s anything to roll over about — remains to be seen.
But the odds are good that if/when Stanford officials meet with Long, they’ll have more than a question or two about how a mess like Petrino’s could occur on his watch.