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Report: Arkansas Has Fired Bobby Petrino

Arkansas has fired football coach Bobby Petrino, according to Chris Low and Joe Schad of ESPN.

The school has called a press conference for tonight at 8:15 eastern time, at which point athletic director Jeff Long is expected to announce Petrino will not return to Arkansas.

Long held an impromptu press conference late Thursday night after learning Petrino had failed to inform his boss that football program employee Jessica Dorrell had been a passenger during his April 1 motorcycle accident. Petrino later admitted to having a “previous inappropriate relationship” with a woman. The Associated Press reported Monday what had been widely assumed – that relationship was with Dorrell.

Long was unable to answer many questions in detail on Thursday night. Expect him to have a much greater explanation this time.

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No SEC Schedule Release Before Christmas

So much for Missouri AD Mike Alden’s assertion last week that the SEC would release its 2012 football schedule this week.  Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long and South Carolina athletic director Eric Hyman have both come out this week to say that the schedule still isn’t quite complete, though it’s close and it should be released soon.

So if you were hoping to get a pre-Christmas glimpse of next year’s docket, tough break. 

Maybe by New Year’s…

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Arkansas AD Long Wants Missouri In The West

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long caused a bit of a stir soon after Missouri’s entry into the SEC was made official.  When asked about divisional alignment, he said Missouri would be in the SEC East “initially.”

Initially?

We stated yesterday that we frankly didn’t know what the heck he meant by that.  Missouri to the East saves all of the SEC’s current rivalries which was a goal of the league in expanding — change as little as possible.  Why would the league put Mizzou in the East only to move them back out again… especially if the league isn’t looking to expand to 16 (and it isn’t).

Well now Long has shed some more light on his Missouri views… and it sounds like Long’s “initially” comment was grounded more in hope than fact.


“We would like to see Missouri in the West.  We think that makes sense from our standpoint, having them in the West, playing them on a regular basis. … Long-term I hope there is an opportunity to look at Missouri in the West.  Again, that’s one school of 14′s opinion, but I hope we look at that over time.”

For every Arkansas who wants Missouri in the West, there’s an Alabama or a Tennessee who wants them in the East in order to protect already-established SEC rivalries.

Missouri — on a map — should be in the West Division.  But the ACC and the Big Ten paid no attention to the map in their divisional set-ups.  Neither does the SEC now.

If the SEC had used a map in 1992, Auburn would be in the East and Vanderbilt in the West.

Would Missouri and Arkansas be a good rivalry to kickstart?  No doubt.  From a conference perspective, not at the expense of an existing SEC rivalry.

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UA To Begin Construction On Football Complex In Fall

Arkansas has committed $24-35 million to building a new, state of the art football complex for Bobby Petrino and his program.  Athletic director Jeff Long expects construction on the building to begin in the fall.

“I can’t tell you if that’s September, October or November.  We’re putting together those timelines now,” the AD said.

Long also said that a fundraising campaign is coming soon to Razorback Nation:  “I think you’ll see later in the summer kind of the mass, broader appeal for fans to step up and join in.  Right now we’re in the not so quiet phase.  Everybody knows we’re out fundraising.  We’re still focusing on individuals who might want to step up and help us.”

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Arkansas A.D. Says Report On Crime “Misleading”

Yesterday, SI.com posted a report detailing a six month investigation (by SI.com and CBS News) into the criminal records of a number of college football players.  The report used only the teams ranked in SI’s preseason Top 25 last year.  Background checks were done on more than 2,800 players on the those teams’ rosters.

It was found that Arkansas had 18 players on its roster who had been arrested or charged with a crime at one time or another, the second-highest number on the list.  Now Razorback athletic director Jeff Long has issued a response.

“The University of Arkansas has high standards and expectations for all of its students, including those who take part in intercollegiate athletics,” Long said via statement.  “When a student violates the law or the student conduct code, they are held accountable.  Students who participate in intercollegiate athletics are also held accountable to our student-athlete conduct code.”

“The Sports Illustrated/CBS News article on Top 25 football programs cited 18 members of the Razorback football team who had violated the law.  While I am in no way dismissing or rationalizing the infractions, I do want the public to know the nature of those infractions.”

Of the 18 players arrested, UA says seven were picked up on traffic violations that did not involved any illegal substances, three were arrested for driving while intoxicated, five were picked up on charges involving the illegal use or possession of alcohol, two was picked up for marijuana possession and one was nabbed for shoplifting.

“It is worth noting that none of these violations involved acts of violence,” Long said.  “Unfortunately, the article placed our students in a misleading context, one which failed to distinguish the nature and severity of violations from those featured in the story.”

I have no problem with Long explaining the arrests or defending his program.  That’s his job.  Also, Arkansas had no charges of violence, a claim not all schools can make.

But looking at this as a larger issue — which was the point of the SI/CBS piece — wouldn’t it be better if there were fewer arrests in college football?  Wouldn’t it be better if college coaches were a little more selective and less likely to chase recruits who’ve had run-ins with the law during high school?

And aren’t the answers to those questions self-evident?

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UA Bowl Tickets Sold Out

Arkansas
Content provided by The Slophouse.

FAYETTEVILLE - The University of Arkansas has already sold out its allotment of 17,500 tickets for the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4.

The school received more than 24,000 pre-orders during a two-week span. Donors to the school’s athletic foundation and season-ticket holders should all receive tickets to the game, according to a press release, but all others will likely be left out in the cold.

“The demand for tickets to the Allstate Sugar Bowl has been far greater than the tickets we were allotted by the bowl game,” Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long said in a release. “We appreciate the tremendous response from the Razorback fans.”

No tickets are listed for sale on the Sugar Bowl’s official website, though several online ticket sites such as StubHub.com have tickets listed for the game.

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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UA to Announce Football Renovations

Arkansas
Content provided by The Slophouse.

University of Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long is scheduled to hold a press conference at 4:30 p.m. today to announce renovation needs for the Razorbacks football program, according to a press release.

While the release didn’t spell out any specifics, Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino has spoken in the past about the need for new locker rooms and new coaches’ offices. Earlier this year, Petrino said coaches don’t take recruits into the locker rooms on their officials visits because they are dated.

The UA has been working on a new master plan for all of its athletics programs. That plan will be unveiled by early 2011, according to sources.

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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