Arkansas is on the market for a new athletic director.
After reports emerged Wednesday morning that Long was out, the school issued a statement shortly before Noon Central Time announcing Long’s departure.
“The decision to change leadership in our athletics department is not an easy one and was made after great deliberation, discussion and thought, after consultation with the Board of Trustees and President Bobbitt,” Arkansas chancellor Joseph Steinmetz said in a statement. “Since coming to Fayetteville in 2008, Jeff has led our department with character and integrity and helped move us forward in so many ways. However, over the past year, Jeff has lost the support of many of our fans, alumni, key supporters and members of the university leadership, support that I believe is critical in our pursuit of excellence.”
Long has been Arkansas’ athletic director since 2008 when he replaced Frank Broyles. He’s also served as the chairperson of the College Football Playoff committee and is still a member.
“In consultation with the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference [Greg Sankey], the College Football Playoff management committee today voted unanimously to ask Jeff Long, the former Director of Athletics for the University of Arkansas, to continue his service as a member of the College Football Playoff selection committee,” a statemennt from CFP spokesperson Bill Hancock said. “Mr. Long has accepted the invitation and he will serve for the remainder of this season.”
Long also hired Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema away from Wisconsin before the 2013 season. After compiling a 68-24 record with the Badgers, Bielema is 29-32 at Arkansas, including a 4-6 record in 2017. If Arkansas is going to get to .500 and bowl eligibility, the Hogs have to beat Mississippi State and Missouri.
Because of his lack of success with Arkansas, Bielema’s job status has been a source of speculation throughout the 2017 season. Long’s ouster as athletic director will not do anything to quell that speculation. And the Arkansas’ football team’s lack of recent success probably played a role in his departure.
The school said associate athletic director Julie Cromer Peoples would take over Long’s job in an interim role.
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