Ouch. That’ll leave a mark.
Earlier Wednesday, multiple reports surfaced that Jeff Long was out as the athletic director at Arkansas. Not long after, UA chancellor Joseph Steinmetz confirmed in a statement that that Long “will no longer serve in his position effective today.” Senior associate athletics director Julie Cromer Peoples has been named as interim AD.
According to Steinmetz, the fact that Long “lost the support of many of our fans, alumni, key supporters and members of the university leadership” proved to be the impetus for the move.
“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,” the statement attributed to Steinmetz said. “Since coming to Fayetteville in 2008, Jeff has led our department with character and integrity and helped us move 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.
“I want to thank Jeff for his commitment and service to our University and to the State of Arkansas and, on behalf of the Razorback family, I want to wish Jeff and his family all of the best in the future.”
The university said in its release that it will “honor the provisions of Long’s contract, which currently runs through June 30, 2022.” That move will cost UA in excess of $4 million.
Long came to Arkansas from Pittsburgh to replaced the retired Frank Broyles, spending nearly a decade on the job. He was the first chairman of the College Football Playoff selection committee, and still serves as a voting member.
Long’s first significant hire as UA’s AD was Bobby Petrino, who was subsequently fired four years later amidst a scandal. Petrino’s replacement, Bret Bielema, is expected to follow Long out the door at some point in the not-too-distant future.
UPDATED 1:51 p.m. ET: The College Football Playoff has confirmed that Long remain on as a member of the selection committee, at least through this season.