The Battle of Hawgoyplae
With the upcoming meeting of the Board of Trustees in Fayetteville, a couple of questions will hopefully be answered about the future of UA's athletic program. The main one, of course, is whether or not the board has the cognitive ability of a banana slug. Anyone that thinks that the status quo is acceptable should really seek medical attention. The program is rotting from the inside due to a combination of obfuscation and arrogance.
I'll throw in the minor disclaimer that I'm not a Razorback fanatic. I've lived in the area around eight years and root for them mostly because I'm here, but my vested interest is fairly limited.
Having said that, I think that the tenure of Frank Broyles is just about a perfect example of why presidents are limited to two terms. It is a rare human being that can be given the power over a money-making machine like a Div 1 athletic program without eventually developing some sort of god complex. Sadly, Frank is not that rare human and he's obviously pretty sure that he is a god here. I personally believe that the university should stop worrying so much about finding a basketball coach and concentrate on finding a new AD. I've also heard reports that even after Broyle's retirement, he will continue to maintain an office in the building that bears his name. This, obviously, is a terrible idea, and will only serve to undercut the new AD's authority. His mere presence would probably engender a "What Would Frank Do" mentality at a time when Arkansas should be doing exactly the opposite of what Frank has been doing lately. Frank should be asked to step down immediately, not at the end of the year, and should have no hand in hiring the new basketball coach, or in anything that may or may not happen with Houston Nutt.
As to Houston "Coach for Life" Nutt, I am firmly in the camp that believes he should also make a swift exit, graceful or not. This has nothing to do with his handling of the Malzahn situation or his purported affair with Donna Bragg and everything to do with the fact that he is an utterly uninspiring choke artist (think Alex Rodriguez in the playoffs). While I have seen Arkansas win some big games through the heroics of some incredible individual efforts, I have, more often than not, watched them lose most of the big games due to some incredibly inept play calling. Look back at the last three games of last season. In at least two of them, the Hogs had legitimate shots at winning, but Nutt, with two of the best running backs in the nation, decided it was now time to air the ball out. Possibly the most moronic display of coaching I've ever seen. Houston also displays some signs of the god complex, but generally gives off the aura of someone who, when it comes to the end of the day, cares more about Houston Nutt than anything else. His teams have been the ultimate underachievers, and that, in my opinion, is a reflection more on the coach than on anything else.
As would be expected, there are opinions galore flying about the intertubes.
Whoever took the time to set that up has some serious spare time on their hands.
The Arkansas Times is reporting that, in typical institutional "Cover Your Ass" fashion, athletic department personnel cell phones will now be paid for by the Razorback Foundation, purportedly taking them out of the realm of FOIA requests. Somewhat outrageous, but utterly unsurprising. They also make a fairly good case that the Foundation may have not thought its cunning plan all the way through.
Other posts about the subject can be found here, here, here and here.
Local message boards are also rife with wild speculation and sometimes outright venom from people on both side of the argument.