No votes taken after private meeting of UA trustees; announcement of AD hire made hours later

By: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Staff
Published: December 4, 2017 at 9:55 a.m. - Updated: December 4, 2017 at 5:32 p.m.
The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees are shown in this May 2017 file photo.
The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees are shown in this May 2017 file photo.

5:30 P.M. UPDATE:

Arkansas has hired Houston athletics director Hunter Yurachek to the same position, the university confirmed Monday, hours after the university's Board of Trustees met in executive session.

Read the full story on the hire here.

1:47 P.M. UPDATE:

No votes were taken after the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees emerged from an executive session Monday afternoon.

The private meeting, which lasted about two-and-a-half hours, comes amid high-profile searches for new a football coach and a new athletic director at the flagship campus in Fayetteville.

UA System President Donald Bobbitt joined the session about shortly after 12:11 p.m.

Members reconvened in a public teleconference about 1:45 p.m. after saying there was only "discussion" in the meeting. Board members say Joe Steinmetz, chancellor of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, was involved in the talks and called in from Fayetteville.

Steinmetz, who fired 10-year Athletic Director Jeff Long on Nov. 15, is in charge of hiring the university's next athletics leader.

Check back with Arkansas Online for updates on this developing story.

12:15 P.M. UPDATE:

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees has asked for the UA System president to join them as members meet privately Monday morning.

Board Chairman Ben Hyneman asked for Donald Bobbitt at 12:11 p.m., and he joined the executive session shortly after.

The meeting comes amid high-profile searches for new a football coach and a new athletic director at the flagship campus in Fayetteville.

11:15 A.M. UPDATE:

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees has begun its executive session Monday morning.

The panel moved to meet privately at 11:07 a.m. after starting a teleconference in Little Rock. The meeting comes amid high-profile searches for new a football coach and a new athletic director at the flagship campus in Fayetteville.

UA Chancellor Joe Steinmetz was in his office on "stand by" during the teleconference meeting, said university spokesman Mark Rushing.

The board's chairman, Ben Hyneman, read this statement before the executive session began: "I will entertain a motion to go into Executive Session for the purpose of considering the employment, appointment, promotion, demotion, disciplining or resignation of public officers or employees for the various campuses of the University of Arkansas System." It is the same statement read before all instances of the board meeting in executive session.

EARLIER:

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees will meet Monday morning by teleconference amid high-profile searches for new a football coach and a new athletic director at the flagship campus in Fayetteville.

A UA spokesman said in a statement that the teleconference would begin at 11 a.m. and that the trustees are expected to "immediately go into executive session."

Executive sessions aren't open to the public and are allowed under Arkansas law only for the consideration of "employment, appointment, promotion, demotion, disciplining, or resignation of any public officer or employee."

Under the law, the trustees also must announce the "specific purpose" for the executive session before they go into it.

No specifics on the cause for the meeting were released, but the teleconference comes as Arkansas continues its search for a football coach to replace Bret Bielema and an athletic director to succeed Jeff Long. Both Long and Bielema were fired in recent weeks.


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