Bob Holt is a Razorbacks beat reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Hogs ride with rivals to NCAAs
Arkansas athletes step off a plane after arriving in Eugene, Ore., on Sunday. The Razorbacks took a chartered jet along with SEC rivals Florida and LSU.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas’ men’s and women’s track and field teams are sharing a plane ride with SEC rivals Florida and LSU to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore.
The NCAA, which pays for teams’ expenses to compete at national events, arranged for a 757 to pick up the Gators in Gainesville, Fla, fly to Baton Rouge to pick up the Tigers, then stop in Fayetteville and pick up the Razorbacks.
Chris Bucknam and Lance Harter, coaches for Arkansas men’s and women’s teams, said it’s the first time they have flown on a charter with other teams but they have no objections.
“It all starts with the coaches, and our coaches have great respect for Florida and LSU,” Bucknam said. “How we communicate and handle it when we’re at meets together, our kids see the respect factor and they’ll emulate what the coaches do.”
Harter said Arkansas, Florida and LSU always get along well.
“We’re probably the congeniality group of the SEC,” Harter said.
Bucknam and Harter said it’s a good idea the NCAA isn’t having Florida and Texas A&M fly together to the NCAA meet, which begins Wednesday. Coaches from Florida and Texas A&M filed protests against each other after their runners in the women’s 1,600 relay made contact at this year’s SEC Indoor meet. The coaches also exchanged some harsh words.
Harter said it would be entertaining to be on the same flight with Florida and Texas A&M.
“You wouldn’t have to watch a movie,” Harter said. “Just sit the two of them together.”