Several have inquired about the absence of Phil Elson as announcer on the broadcast of the Razorbacks’ collegiate baseball playoffs win in Stillwater, Okla,
That night, Arkansas officials told a Democrat-Gazette reporter that Elson was “unavailable” and IMG, the private overlord of Arkansas sports marketing, provided a play-by-play man from Oral Roberts University to sub.
My query to the Athletic Department has so far gone without response. I notice that Elson’s Twitter account that he used as voice of the Hogs has been deactivated. A follower of his on Facebook also says that account has been deleted.
Back to politics. Not that athletics and intrigue about same don’t bear a certain resemblance. Big money in sports, too, thanks to the SEC loot.
Elson become voice of the Hogs last October. He’d done broadcasting for the Arkansas Travelers previously.
UPDATE: Twitter reports now indicate UA is at least confirming the obvious: Elson won’t be back as announcer, but officials are declining to comment on a “personnel matter.”
This, at a bare minimum, was required: A confirmation that there’d been a change in personnel of a high-profile spokesman for Hogdom. When you farm out a multi-million-dollar operation to a private operator — IMG — this kind of lack of transparency can be expected more and more. I’m not much interested why an announcer came or went, only a confirmation that it happened. Details in intake and expenditure of money? That’s another matter of far greater concern and an even greater lack of transparency on the hill and throughout collegiate sports as private marketers and big-dollar TV contracts turn public universities into mere fronts for professional athletics.
UPDATE: Here’s what KNWA got (and eventually I did as well):
Elson was not on the broadcast as originally planned on Sunday. No word yet on why he was removed from the broadcast but IMG College did respond with this statement from Andrew Giangola.
“This is personnel matter, which we don’t comment on. Alex Perlman will be calling Arkansas baseball this weekend and throughout the remainder of the postseason.”
PS: Reader objects to my use of phrase radio announcer for radio play-by-play man. In the old days, fogeys like me called the people who described sporting events on radio as radio announcers. Today, apparently, some view the word as applying only to those who make announcements over the PA system at games. Noted.
UPDATE: The UA did respond. It said all questions should go to IMG, which employed Elson. Of course, I suspect many decisions made by IMG are run by the Athletic Department. At least you’d hope so, given that without the department there’d be no revenue stream for IMG to share.