Kudos to Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long for turning one school’s reported interest in him into a tangible bump in salary. The Dallas Morning News reported last weekend that the Razorback AD was on the three-man short list of AD candidates at Texas. Long put out a press release stating: “I do not comment on the searches of other universities or on unsubstantiated rumors… Further, I am not seeking a position or engaged in the search process of another university.”
Here’s why: Arkansas boosted Long’s salary to $1.1 million per year, gave him a $100,000 bonus for sticking around, and upped his buyout to $1.3 million through June of 2015.
The Associated Press got hold of Long’s amended contract — freshly cut last Friday — via an open records request. They found that UA officials conceded in the pact that they were aware that “another institution of higher education with significant resources” had come a’calling. Also, the new monetary benefits to Long were “in exchange for your agreement to remover yourself from consideration for another position and to retain you at the University of Arkansas.”
It was a smart move by the Razorbacks. Long has become one of the most respected ADs in the nation by always landing the coaches he desires (Mike Anderson in hoops, Bobby Petrino and Bret Bielema in football), by proving to be an excellent fundraiser, and by taking the high ground in the Petrino situation (which was not an easy move to make).
As for those Arkansas fans who won’t like Long angling for a raise, put yourself in his shoes. If the biggest company in your field wanted to talk to you, wouldn’t you consider moving? And if your current employer was willing to up your pay in order to keep you, wouldn’t you happily take the cash?
This was a win-win for all involved. Long’s staying in Fayetteville and he’s making more money. Arkansas maintains stability at the top of its athletic department by holding on to a proven leader.