Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Wally Hall wrote this morning about the brief flurry of news that University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long was in the field of candidates to be the next athletic director at the University of Texas.
Hall wrote, without citing sources, that Long was approached about the job, thought about it briefly and UA Chancellor David Gearhart knew about it. Wrote Hall:
Gearhart probably did what any boss who wanted to keep an employee would do – he gave him a small bump in pay and asked him not to go, saying that their work at Arkansas was not complete. Long was hired by former Chancellor John White, but it was on Gearhart’s recommendation.
Really? A pay raise for a job that Long claimed he was not seeking? (Make that “is” not seeking.) Nuttier things have happened at UA, if you get my pun.
I inquired about the report through Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations at the UA. I asked if it was true that Long got a bump. And just to be safe, I also made a formal FOI request for any notes that Long, Gearhart or anyone else might have produced on the Texas-Long contact. This was at 8:28 a.m.
Voorhies responded promptly and perhaps jokingly (but perhaps not):
So it’s come to this – believing a Wally Hall column enough to check it out. Dark days indeed.
I passed along the FOI to the people who might actually know or be able to find out.
Four hours later and I still have no response. Seems like a simple question for starters — yes or no?
The D-G earlier ran down Long’s new contract, entered last fall after some talk Stanford might be interested in Long. It guarantees him $900,000 a year and incentives that can pay another $250,000. He’d have to pay $1 million if he left the job. A new employer presumably would pick up that tab.
UPDATE: Eight hours after my query, still awaiting an answer from the U of Accountability.