Local gossip has swirled around the suspension of Brad Bolding, the North Little Rock football coach suspended recently under unusual circumstances. The NLR School District has declined to answer questions about Bolding, saying it’s a personnel matter.
Today, with the news that North Little Rock High School’s star receiver K.J. Hill would be headed to Ohio State (not Fayetteville, as was planned), Bolding’s lawyer David Couch spoke to the Times about the circumstances of Bolding’s falling out with the district. Bolding received notice from the district last Friday (Jan. 30th) that he’d be terminated under the Fair Dismissal Act, said Couch. The coach plans to request a hearing and contest the firing.
Couch said the NLRSD notified Bolding of four allegations against him in a letter announcing his suspension, prior to news of his termination. First, the North Little Rock Athletic Foundation bought hundreds of thousands of dollars in athletics equipment for the school. Second, the athletics department purchased new coaches’ headsets and did not follow proper procedure in disposing of the old equipment. (I didn’t see the termination letter — Couch says his client will release it at a later date — but these first two items may have to do with complaints that Bolding excessively prioritized NLR’s football program at the expense of other athletics in the district.)
Third, in mid-December, Bolding posted an item on his Facebook page expressing frustration over disparity in football programs between Arkansas districts, which the district said was bad for NLR’s image. And fourth: A potential AAA violation that NLR thinks may have occurred in early 2013 regarding the eligibility of a student athlete to transfer to the school. (Couch wouldn’t confirm that the athlete is Hill, but the timeline makes sense. We’ll have to wait to see the exact nature of the alleged AAA violation.)
Couch says that he believes the district is targeting Bolding in part because “late last year, Brad starting asking questions about unpaid invoices in the athletic dept … how some money was being spent.” We’ve heard no official comment yet from NLRSD.