Matt Jones is the online sports editor for the Arkansas-Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.
UA athletics director given raise, contract extension
University of Arkansas chancellor G. David Gearhart, from left, athletics director Jeff Long, and former head football coach John L. Smith listen during a Sept. 14, 2012 ceremony for the university's new football center in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE The University of Arkansas has agreed in principle to an extension that will keep its athletics director under contract through 2017.
- Yes 73% 646 votes
- No 26% 230 votes
876 total votes.
If approved by the university's board of trustees, beginning next year Jeff Long will make $900,000 annually before incentives, according to a letter written to Long by UA chancellor G. David Gearhart. The contract's buyout is $1 million through the first two years.
Retroactive to July 1 of this year, Long's university contract will be worth $500,000, with an additional $400,000 paid to him by The Razorback Foundation, Inc. beginning next July for speaking engagements and a savings fund.
He will also be paid a $50,000 signing bonus before the end of 2012.
Beginning next year, Long could make up to $1.2 million per year through 2016 after bonuses. Incentives are primarily academic-based, but also include stipulations for personal conduct, football bowl game appearances, NCAA Tournament appearances in other sports and maintaining a balanced budget for the athletics department.
According to figures published by USA Today in 2011, Long's new contract would make him the 10th-highest paid athletics director in the country and third-highest paid in the SEC.
"As I shared with you during your annual evaluation earlier this year, I am very appreciative of your outstanding leadership of the Athletics Department, particularly during very challenging times, and your commitment to the University of Arkansas," Gearhart wrote.
Long, who fired former Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino amid a public scandal earlier this year, was hired to replace Frank Broyles in 2007. His current contract runs through next June 30 and is worth $450,000 before incentives.
As part of the amended contract, if fired without cause, Long would receive $1 million each year through the end of the contract.
Long, who hired John L. Smith to a 10-month contract as the Razorbacks' football coach in April, is currently searching for a long-term replacement for Petrino. In May, Long released a statement stating he was not interested in leaving Arkansas when his name was associated with a like vacancy at Stanford and he has continued to express his desire to stay with the Razorbacks as other positions have come open.
"It’s a legitimate question, but I have no interest and no plans to not be here," Long said on the syndicated radio program 'Sports Talk with Bo Mattingly' last month. "As long as it’s up to me, and God-willing, I will be here to hire the next football at the University of Arkansas. I’m excited to do that and feel prepared to do that."