Vitriol aimed at Jeff Long

This is just my opine, and no insider information from the powers that be
here. Just wanted to get that out there. I’ve been a hog fan all my life,
went to school there in the mid 80s, still know lots of people all over the
campus and in the NWA area, and this is just my little ole opine on why
there is so much vitriol aimed at Jeff Long.

For years, we had Frank Broyles and the “Old Boys” network. Thats just
the way things were for a long time. That was the times. The way it was
at Texas, Alabama, Etc. Not saying it was right or wrong just saying that
was the lay of the land back then. Don’t get me wrong, Frank was the
captain of the ship, without a doubt, but there were a lot of people that
felt they had more power, pull, or say than the average person might realize.
Thats the way the old boy network worked. Whether reality or not, it let
people feel like they were a part of the engine that drove the bus.

When Jeff Long came in to be AD, he was from outside that network. It
was a new day. The old ways were dying and getting modernized. It was
more a modern day CEO type of position, the old boys were being put out
to pasture. That got a bunch of behind the scenes “old boys” a little bit
butt hurt. They discovered that the illusions of driving the bus was over,
they could help pay for the gas, but it was a new day. No longer did they
get the illusion of being part of the management, they had the reality of
finding they were just a checkbook.

The one thing you can always count on with “old boys” is they tend to have
long memories and will nurse a slight for a long long time. So if ever an
opportunity was to present itself, I have little doubt they’d be ready to try
and exact a bit of revenge or exploit a situation in order to re-establish their

Personally, I think Jeff Long has done a good job as an AD. He is well respected
across the nation and he has done a lot of good for the athletic dept. We’ve
had facility upgrades all over the department, from track, baseball, basketball,
football, golf, soccer, etc. We seem to being doing pretty well in most of the
coaching across the whole department. Most tend to forget he is not just there
to babysit football. Yes football is down…don’t deny that, but most other areas
are doing well, if not excelling. I think his job should be rock solid, but thats just
my opine.

I just hope the “old boys” in their quest to exact some payback for old slights
don’t tear down more than they bargain for so they can feel like they “showed
the yankee” what happens when you mess with a southern boy that always
likes to get even.

I believe them “old boys” did a lot more good for the program than JL ever will.

Long brought CBB and those unbelievable golden handcuffs, er parachute.

Its a new day. I don’t know JL from Adam, I too believe he has done a good job from the outside looking in. I also believe that he can make the right hire for the next football coach. His 3 hires and yes I’m including JLS, AKA, SMILE…Have to me all been logical. Petrino at the time was a home run. Hell, he didn’t know the man was gonna cut up like that. CBB at the time was another big time hire, but for whatever reason he hasn’t worked out here. So in my opinion its not an AD problem its a Head Coach problem that needs to be addressed. The last time I checked Frank Broyles didn’t set the world on fire with his hires (Jack Crow, Joe Kines, Danny Ford, Houston Nutt , Stan Heath, John Pelfrey). Those old timers need to sit their butt down and let that man do it his way.

Jeff Long has done an admirable job as AD. He isnt perfect, but my feet get when when I try to walk on water, so I cant judge.

People just hate that a Yankee has come in here and is running things and they will do everything they can to run him out on a rail.

I think that long backhanded slap at Frank Broyles was better left unsaid. He was solely responsible for making football a great institution in Arkansas. People lived and died with the Razorbacks. Today, Long’s legacy is a drastically dwindling fan base and pitiful apathy. In addition his willingness to spend huge amounts of money, particularly on the wealthy fan base, while making it tougher for the average Joe to attend games may bankrupt the athletic program that Frank built. I will admit that I never liked the guy from the beginning. He immediately took a couple of shots at northwest Arkansas and Springdale in particular with his comments, dumb way to heal a fractured fan base. You go ahead and love the guy. Don’t think I will ever warm up to the little money bags.

Totally agree, Votan.

I would say the “average Joe” has a much better opportunity to attend games at UA than anywhere in the SEC. We have some of the lowest ticket prices in P5 football. It’s already been determined that the increased revenue from premium seats will allow lowering price for some “regular” seats. We wail and moan we want to be big-time, then complain about cost of attendance. I guess you would like it better if we were back in 30,000 seat Razorback Stadium, with no lights, and playing in the Sun Belt.
If you don’t want a “moneybags” AD, go support ASU.

My Daddy always said about bass fishing “if you aren’t getting hung up occasionally you aren’t casting in the right places.” For you metaphorically challenged out there that means you can’t accomplish much if don’t make some folks mad. Long has had to make some tough decisions that didn’t always make every power group happy. Those decisions have not all turned out like we all hoped they would but, based on the facts known at the time, they each were the right decision to make. Taking a chance on Bobby Petrino was the right decision at that time. Firing him when he crashed and lied was also the right decision. Hoping John L. Smith could hold on to the program long enough to give time to find a qualified head coach was understandable and there were no better choices. Hiring a three time Big Ten Champ coach who wanted the job was universally considered to be a brilliant hire at the time. After we stomped Texas in the bowl game, crushed Texas Tech at their place, etc. and the program appeared to be on the verge of greatness, locking CBB up with a contract extension made a lot of sense. Big buyouts are the price of doing business in coaching contracts today so whining about that is pointless. There will be another big buyout in the next coaching contract or you will not get a top candidate to sign.

CBB has failed and the program seems to be heading in the wrong direction so it makes sense to move on. Overall, Long has not failed. In most UofA sports his coaching hires are succeeding, facilities are in much better shape than what Frank left us, and there is nothing about the struggling football program that taints his overall reputation as one of the top AD’s in America.

After the bizarre way that Houston Nutt was run off, Arkansas has earned a rogue fan base reputation nationally. The “over qualified for the job football coach” did not pan out after five years. We need to deal with this in an efficient manner and not add to our reputation of having a nutjob fan base by firing a guy basically because he is not from the south and some folks never liked him. If you run him off, you will get the good ole boy AD you deserve because no “trained professional AD” will take the job after seeing how one of the top ones was treated. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. JMVVVVVHO

PS: I am an Arkansan for 66 years and a UofA grad so don’t go assuming I’m some yankee defending another one.

What Votan said…

Frank made people mad, just like Jeff Long did. If you make enough people mad, sooner or later it all adds up and you will be in trouble. That’s simply what’s going on right now. It happened for Frank, eventually. It will happen for all of us.

That’s the same for a golf pro, preacher and about anyone else who serves the people. The time for a coach or an AD is generally relates to how many people they make happy and how many they make mad.

Frank lost power when he made enough people mad, and I’m talking about money people. Some eventually found folks on the BoT that they could influence and Frank’s time ended. That happens to all ADs. And, if you think Frank didn’t have political enemies, just as other ADs do (then and now), you are wrong.

I was told by a preacher once that his vocation required a move about every 10 years. Rarely does a preacher make everyone happy and last past that number. They are unusual.

Frank was unusual in that he kept his bosses (fans and BoT) happy for as long as he did. It rarely happens.

I will say that mainly Frank did what he wanted. He did not cave to big boosters often. He listened, but he didn’t cave. He also was instrumental in the good things happening on campus (library, fund raising campaigns) so that produced a lot of good will from the folks on the higher ground of campus. That’s important. You can make some mistakes and get away with it when most everyone thinks you are pulling for everyone else on campus. He was able to do that.

I think Jeff has worked hard to be a good player on campus. Athletics has given money to the higher ground, including funding a major new building. That’s produced good will from up high on campus.

I do think there are some on campus who question how much is being spent on athletics, especially if they are in an old antique of a building. That is a little bit of bad will towards athletics. It’s also noted that the athletics administration has doubled and redoubled. That is a sign of the times as the entire athletic department has changed with TV marketing and the SEC Network, much of which is generated on each SEC campus.

One area that both Frank and Jeff have battled is what to do with Little Rock games. The BoT has regional makeup. When you pull games from Little Rock, it effects your rating in regional settings. Anyone who thinks this is not playing out now – just as it played out with Frank – then you are wrong. There are consequences with making people mad in the far reaching areas of our state.

I’m not saying that moving games from Little Rock cost Frank his job. It wasn’t one thing. But that was a straw in the total build-up. It enabled some who didn’t like him for other reasons to gain support from others who didn’t care anything about the things they were mad about. They form a coalition to make a move. That’s generally how it works in politics. I’ll help you, but you have to help me on something you don’t care about.

I understand the changing economics between playing games in Little Rock and Fayetteville. It’s a big financial difference. But I tend to agree with Tommy Tuberville when he says “someone needs to figure out the money difference” and just get it done. If it means fixing the stadium in Little Rock, do it. If it means you sacrifice playing games in Arlington, then do it.

I don’t want the state divided. I think it’s a mistake. I don’t have all of the answers, but I know there are bitter differences and they can create issues where people become ready to see faults when maybe there are not as many as perceived. You make a series of small mistakes (and then one big one), they are added together into one huge one.

I agree on Little Rock - the Razorbacks need to maintain a meaningful ( Alcorn State is not meaningful) presence in the Capitol City to preserve the Razorbacks as being something that will continue to unify all four corners of the state. Tommy T and you are spot on when it comes to this.

What Hogmodo said…couldn’t agree more…


Athletics is big business, and playing games in WMS is not a shrewd move according to a successful business model.

WMS games are successful if it engages fans and support beyond those who attend the game(s) held there.

UA athletics can’t be the sole entity propping up WMS financially. That is what is happening now. When you have empty seats that is on the fans, not the BOT or the athletic department. Why rent seats you can’t fill when you are also paying off bonds for seats right under your nose on campus? And, more of those seats would be filled?

I am not calling for the end of games in WMS but noting that someone is going to have to sweeten the pot for it to make any sense. If UA athletics are going to get submarined by politics surrounding this issue then why worry about Long and Bielema? They are willing to work hard at a second-rate institution as far as athletics go - no other elite program would ever allow WMS-gate to influence things the way UA is letting it influence them. That is on the BOT, and if they are really all about elevating UA’s status as an institution doing away with WMS games is a tiny thing, but it would be a step forward (no matter how small in the big picture).

VOTAN: Excellent post. You said what I have always felt but could not verbalize it, since I was not inside the head of the “Good Ole Boys” who ran the machine. And they are still there ready for opportunity to slam and takeover. They have a narrow view of the program and not inclusive. We can’t move forward if we continue to strive for the past. History is good if we look at it as history, and not a map for future.

A well thought piece and well said. Votan and Clay bring
rational Razorback thinking and I enjoy reading them.

If you harbor a strong animosity to the point that you
think you can offer a defensible argument for the firing
of Jeff long, I think you need counseling.

don’t understand the animosity toward Long


Votan, that is a great post. I am an old guy, but have been giving to the foundation for over 35 years at the BMS level and I do not understand why people get pissed at Long when they have to give more money to keep their 50 yard line seats. I know of one who had been donating $500 per year and sat near the 50 yard line. I have never been asked to increase my donation and I sit close to 50 yard line. As for all the people that trash Bielema and think he has no idea how to coach, and I think it has not worked out here, just remember that he beat the best Arkansas team of the last 20 or so years in the Citrus Bowl when we had 2 first round running backs plus Hillis. I was at that game and we were a better team, but they kicked our ass.