Hog Calls:

Downturn in UA donations not over

By: Nate Allen
Published: Saturday, June 21, 2014
University of Arkansas chancellor G. David Gearhart, former women's head basketball coach Tom Collen, men's head basketball coach Mike Anderson and athletics director Jeff Long throw dirt during the official groundbreaking for the new Razorback Basketball Performance Center Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 in Fayetteville. The 66,000 square foot facility is one of three new facilities for athletes being built on the campus, funded in part by financial donations to the Razorback Foundation.
Photo by Michael Woods
University of Arkansas chancellor G. David Gearhart, former women's head basketball coach Tom Collen, men's head basketball coach Mike Anderson and athletics director Jeff Long throw dirt during the official groundbreaking for the new Razorback Basketball Performance Center Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 in Fayetteville. The 66,000 square foot facility is one of three new facilities for athletes being built on the campus, funded in part by financial donations to the Razorback Foundation.

FAYETTEVILLE -- That gloomy Razorback Foundation ledger that made front-page news in Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette might not perk up much in the next fiscal year report.

The Razorback Foundation, the fundraising arm of the University of Arkansas' athletic department, was reported by its IRS Form 990 to outspend its income by $9.3 million for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Also disclosed by the Democrat-Gazette, "contributions and grants to the Razorback Foundation dropped more than $10 million."

The 2012-2013 fiscal year encompasses July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013. That covers fallout from the April 10, 2012, scandal-induced firing of successful football coach Bobby Petrino beyond the 2012 Hogs crashing 4-8 under John L. Smith.

The numbers aren't quite as dire as they appear, Razorback Foundation Executive Director Sean Rochelle reported in an email Thursday to Razorback Foundation members. According to the email, a $10 million challenge grant toward funding the Fred Smith Football Center (announced as met on Aug. 18, 2011) was a 2011-2012 fiscal year asset spent in 2012-2013 and that all speaking engagement money ($291,667 reported) paid Petrino accrued before his April 10, 2012, firing.

Still, the next fiscal year's numbers seem likely to reflect financial fallout from the 2013 football season (3-9 overall, 0-8 in the SEC).

Arkansas' first SEC football 0-fer doesn't bode increasing booster generosity for the 2013-2014 fiscal year that began July 1, 2013 and concludes this June 30.

However from 1990-1997 Arkansas mustered but one winning football season yet the Razorbacks remained red in school colors but not in red ink.

Under Frank Broyles, Arkansas' head football coach from 1958-1976, athletic director from 1973-2007 and retiring June 30 as athletic director emeritus, the Razorbacks were Arkansas identified like family. Family helps family during troubled times.

Since 2008 the Razorbacks operate corporate style marketed as a "brand" under Athletic Director Jeff Long, a Ohioan hired from the University of Pittsburgh.

Anecdotal evidence mounts among some boosters and some former Razorbacks asserting feeling disconnected, disrespected and less inspired to give.

Alleged Texas Longhorns interest to hire Long didn't suffice preventing some expressing outrage that the UA closed a 3-9 season lavishing Long with a $100,000 bonus and two $100,000 raises.

Not that Arkansas is so provincial that it's for Arkies only. Quite the contrary.

Broyles is among a multitude that are Arkansas revered and not originally Arkansans.

Conversational murmuring atrecent Broyles retirement gatherings reflect unrest among some that Broyles' relationship-based accomplishments are not sufficiently revered by the current regime.

Former Razorbacks golf coach Steve Loy articulated such in a June 12 Northwest Arkansas Times column written by Hawgs Illustrated publisher Clay Henry.

"What I am worried about is that not everybody at the University still embraces that," Loy was quoted regarding Broyles' relationships-based contributions. "It's 56 years of what everybody else in college athletics wishes they had. I just hope that no one here ever takes his legacy for granted. I am afraid it could be all gone at some point and that would be shameful."

Sports on 06/21/2014

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