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Transparency lacking in UA sports spending

By Wally Hall

This article was published December 13, 2017 at 4:30 a.m.

joe-steinmetz-left-chancellor-of-the-university-of-arkansas-speaks-wednesday-dec-6-2017-alongside-hunter-yurachek-after-yurachek-was-introduced-as-the-new-director-of-athletics-at-the-university-of-arkansas-during-a-news-conference-in-the-fowler-family-baseball-and-track-indoor-training-center-in-fayetteville

Joe Steinmetz (left), chancellor of the University of Arkansas, speaks Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, alongside Hunter Yurachek after Yurachek was introduced as the new director of athletics at the University of Arkansas during a news conference in the Fowler Family Baseball and Track Indoor Training Center in Fayetteville.

A close and smart friend once said he doesn't care what the Razorback Foundation does with his $20,000 yearly donation.

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hah406 says... December 13, 2017 at 7:05 a.m.

Wally, I completely disagree that the paper isn't on a witch hunt with the Razorbacks and the foundation. It is clear that you are, but it is for some of the reasons that you did not mention. Sure, maybe we ought to know the financial details around the hiring and firing. But why did you request to know who all the applicants for coach and AD were, who was interviewed or offered what, all the information collected by the consulting firms, etc.? That is YOU on a witch hunt, trying to find someone to call out or shame. Until the athletic department is being run on tax payer money, it is none of your or my damn business. Like your friend, I want season tickets and decent parking, not an audit of my donation.

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Maumellehog59 says... December 13, 2017 at 7:11 a.m.

This column reads more like a sportswriter completely frustrated with the FOI laws as it pertains to the Razorback Foundation. Quite frankly, I don’t care about the details. Somebody determined we could afford it and a change was needed. Attendance proved that. This is over 120M a year business. Details aren’t going to change a thing.

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george69 says... December 13, 2017 at 7:32 a.m.

Does everyone miss Orville Henry as much as i do?

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KnuckleBall says... December 13, 2017 at 7:54 a.m.

George, I do... and I remember when the writer of this column used to take Orville to task about his relationship to Frank... You never know which side of the fence Wally is on and sometimes it changes from day to day.

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GDB58 says... December 13, 2017 at 8:35 a.m.

Who gives a fire-truck what they do with the money, some things do not need to be known by others, especially a newspaper writer that has about ten percent favorable articles.

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TexBack says... December 13, 2017 at 9:05 a.m.

FOI is for public entities. The foundation is private. FOI should be used to monitor and expose the university administration and it's overspending. Forget the foundation.

Dig into the university records, report the overspending on administrators (who are simply government employees incapable of being productive citizens in the private sector), let the people be outraged, and then eliminate about two thirds of that overspending. That would a very good use of, and outcome from, FOI requests.

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GeneralMac says... December 13, 2017 at 9:39 a.m.

Everyone who ever violated the FOI act claims it doesn't apply to them.
Take it to court and get a legal ruling.

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drs01 says... December 13, 2017 at 10:24 a.m.

If what Wally is saying that the Trump administration's tax plan will be addressing the "80% tax write off for athletic donations" is true, then the Foundation has more important issues than an FOI request. I'm not as wise as HAH406, so I'll just give my 2 cents worth, he can have the other 98 cents for his comments.
I quit trying to get Razorback tickets years ago when told that I'd have to "donate" to some damned foundation to get a decent seat. Today, a $20,000 donor gets choice seating, preferred parking, and can DEDUCT 80% of the cost from his income tax.
And who do you pay for the tickets, the foundation or University? Do you write two checks, one to UofA the other to the foundation. Who owns the athletic facilities, the tax paying people of Arkansas or the foundation? Same for those preferred parking locations, UofA land, or the foundation. I see why this issue is so clouded. Kind of reminds me of the Clinton Foundation's financials, and the quest to track where the money comes from and where it is spent.

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Whippersnapper says... December 13, 2017 at 10:31 a.m.

If the Razorback Foundation is truly private, they should hold no sway in the selection, hiring, or firing of state employees. They should hold no sway in determining who gets what seats at events held on state university campuses. They should not get to utilize the state held trademark for the Razorbacks. Claiming that the Razorback Foundation is a "private entity" is a sham that is designed to make it as opaque as possible to any outside scrutiny.

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Jfish says... December 13, 2017 at 11:38 a.m.

I would agree with Wally to a point and as Drs and Whipper pointed out, the privacy line becomes gray when you are talking about hiring or firing two of the highest paid State employees. Don't the taxpayers deserve to know who was interviewed? I think Wally is just doing his job.

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