HOG CALLS:

Long’s raise coming at curious time

By: Nate Allen
Published: Monday, November 19, 2012
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette sports reporter Tom Murphy reported Friday that Long’s base salary will rise to $500,000 and that he will receive an extra $250,000 from the Razorback Foundation as a personal services agreement plus a one-time bonus of $50,000 and a possible $250,00 incentive package based on “athletic performance, graduation rates and his own good behavior.”
Photo by Jason Ivester
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette sports reporter Tom Murphy reported Friday that Long’s base salary will rise to $500,000 and that he will receive an extra $250,000 from the Razorback Foundation as a personal services agreement plus a one-time bonus of $50,000 and a possible $250,00 incentive package based on “athletic performance, graduation rates and his own good behavior.”

— In today’s trends of CEO’s lavishly rewarded regardless of their company’s performance, Arkansas’ very corporate athletic department bustles right in step.

It was revealed Friday that David Gearhart, Chancellor of the UA’s flagship campus in Fayetteville, has agreed to terms on Athletic Director Jeff Long’s contract to be forwarded for approval to the UA Board of Trustees that would raise Long’s annual salary to $750,00 per year before incentives.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette sports reporter Tom Murphy reported Friday that Long’s base salary will rise to $500,000 and that he will receive an extra $250,000 from the Razorback Foundation as a personal services agreement plus a one-time bonus of $50,000 and a possible $250,00 incentive package based on “athletic performance, graduation rates and his own good behavior.”

Plus, starting in 2013, Long would earn an extra $150,000 if employed by the UA on June 30, the final day of his annual contract year.

Now, the Long deal doesn’t remotely rival the CEO’s of floundering corporate giants receiving bonuses while their companies received bailouts.

Nonetheless, it does occur at a curious juncture.

Had it been January 2012 with Coach Bobby Petrino’s football Razorbacks off consecutive 10-3 and 11-2 seasons, Long’s current contract offer to some might have been an understatement.

But now? The Razorbacks football program seems sprawled deeper in the ditch where it first crashed with Bobby Petrino’s motorcycle last April Fool’s Day.

The team, picked in the preseason top ten even with Petrino fired on April 10, staggers 4-7 likely to finish 4-8 with the LSU finale Friday in Fayetteville.

Obviously it has not gone well under John L. Smith, Long’s interim coach for 2012 while Long seeks a permanent successor to be named presumably within weeks after this misbegotten season's Friday finish.

Whoever arrives assumes a program that even with Bobby Petrino still in place, was predicted to face a 2013 rebuilding year off what was supposed to be banner year for 2012 seniors.

Projected hard times off hard times come prematurely would seem to make more difficult to fund raise for the myriad of construction projects this athletic department juggles like so many balls in the air.

The gist for Long’s recent raise seems to be from both his hiring Petrino in 2008 and firing him last April after the motorcycle accident revealed Petrino’s “improper relationship” with a female employee he had hired to the football staff position of Student-Athlete Development Coordinator.

Fortunately for Long, it seems most were too busy applauding the athletic director for firing a coach conducting himself as if he were bigger than the university than to ponder if he ever gave Petrino cause to think the coach wasn’t bigger than the university until it was too late.

Whatever, the money about to bestowed truly would be earned if Long hires a coach strong enough to succeed on the field like Petrino but with stronger character appreciating he represents a state and state university permanently bigger than himself.

Sports, Pages 16 on 11/19/2012

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