About the Head Hog’s Coming Farewell…

The Arkansas Democrat’s Scott Cain confirms the wide-spread speculation that Head Hog is about to make a change:

Frank Broyles, Arkansas’ 82-year-old athletic director, will announce his retirement Saturday morning and move into a fundraising and AD emeritus role by the end of the year, people close to him said Friday.

Finishing the year will allow the university time to find a replacement and allow Broyles to reach his 50th anniversary at the school. Full Story

Earlier this week, the Dem-Gaz reported in-depth about an e-mail by a close friend of the Nutts that was widely circulated. The e-mail made very disparaging remarks about, and to, frosh QB Mitch Mustain.

I’ve deliberately stayed away from following the nitty-gritty of the story and who said what to whom and why. I’ve been sick of the allegations and public whining for months — on ALL sides.

It’s hard to dispute who said what and to whom when the sayin’ is done in the form of an e-mail, which is not only in “writing.” It’s also circulated in “original” format more quickly than a virus. Hundreds and thousands of hands can have access to the original document — along with electronic evidence of who’s had their eyes on the little bugger.

The content and circumstances surrounding this e-mail make me sick.

I’m embarrassed and ashamed on behalf of my state and my Razorbacks. I’m ashamed of the adults who behaved more immaturely than the 18 year olds on the team who stepped up and played their guts out this season, despite all the crap swirling around their teammates.

I do take pride in knowing that — our Hogs suited up and were men on the field. THAT’S what an Arkansas Razorback is supposed to do!

Those are the men I ache for most. Many of them, including Darren McFadden, had one big dream in their lives — to be a Razorback. When they got that chance, their dream come true became a nightmare season. To be dissilusioned so young must be a blow bigger than any SEC defensive back could deliver.

Heck, I’m dissilusioned and I’m just a fan! The team members have lived it. Every day.

The first time I ever saw the Razorbacks at War Memorial Stadium, I was hooked. I was 4. Until we got into the stadium and were walking up the ramp, all I saw was rear ends and all I heard were half-drunk adults screaming, “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Arkansas’ goin to the Cotton Bowl.” I thought that was stupid. But when my daddy picked me up and I saw the bright green field under the lights, and the band formed in the big ole A, I was in heaven. My whole body had chill bumps when the band struck up the fight song and those big ole boys stormed through both sides of the A. The crowd went wild. WOW!!!!

The coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks that night was Frank Broyles.

I don’t know every little detail about the offensive e-mail. I don’t know of Coach was aware of what was going on. I don’t know “what he knew and when he knew it.” I don’t need to know.

What I do know is that if the UA Board of Trustees is looking for a scape goat and intends to move on to other things, dismissing Frank Broyles after 50 years will make no difference

 If the Board of Trustees is signalling its intention to make sure nothing like this season EVER happens again to the young men who are committed to the University of Arkansas, I will support that effort.

It’s not up to me to decide if additional personnel changes should be made. Heck, until this week, I’ve been among those saying, “a 10 win season ought to speak for itself.” Now I’ve learned this 10 win season was a miracle — and the result of a team with much more character than many of the adults supposed to be leading by example.

To me, the e-mail scandal is just as embarrassing as NCAA recruiting violations. Both are rooted in dishonesty, selfishness, and a lack of respect for players and their families, and the fans.

Let’s get our house in order. Let players be players and students. Give them someone they can trust. Then we’ll see if we can win some games next season. I hope sports reporters will do their jobs and share with us the personal toll extracted from football players. Tell those personal stories. Let us see how our insistence on “winning at all costs” has impacted our youth. Give us the player’s honest perspective, “athletic program” be damned.

We Are Marshall should be required viewing for every adult and family member associated with the Arkansas Razorbacks. Reporters covering the Hog beat should watch it, too. Those are the “fans” who are in closest contact with players and coaches each day. It’s probably asking too much, but I expect the media to be MY eyes and ears and to help hold coaches accountable. Instead — and this has gone on for too many years — most reporters all but have the Sports Information office proof their stories before they’re filed. Otherwise, they don’t get invited to media events. And some Little Rock reporters are upset about Huckabee’s exclusionary tactics. Heck, he learned em from Arkansas sports!

Board of Trustees and Razorback beat reporters — insist on integrity in our athletics program. Across the board. It doesn’t stop with hiring and firing any one person.


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