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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Saban's voice carries weight in Alabama

by Wally Hall | May 12, 2021 at 2:28 a.m.

Arkansas is doing great in spring sports but does not rank well nationally when it comes to vaccines against covid-19.

At least the Natural State can point a finger at the greatest football state in the country and say it is ahead of Alabama.

Maybe not for long.

Last week, Alabama started a campaign to persuade people to get the vaccine with ads featuring Nick Saban as well as other coaches and athletes.

All of them are asking people to get the shots.

Saban said he needs people to be vaccinated so that the games will be sold out this season.

Three days after the campaign's kickoff, 34,484 Alabamans go their first shot. That was a 54% increase over the same period a week earlier. Total vaccinations were 97,035, a 50% increase over a week prior.

Over the same three-day period, Arkansas vaccinations were down 23% and U.S. vaccinations were down 6%.

    1. .

On June 19, All-Arkansas Preps returns to the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock to honor 400 of the state's top high school athletes from the 2020-21 school year.

Young men and women from virtually every sport will be honored as well as coaches.

This year's guest speaker is former St. Louis Cardinals great Ozzie Smith.

For more information on this one-of-a-kind event, go to www.allarkansaspreps.com or call (501) 378-3087.

    1. .

Bob Baffert confessed on Tuesday morning. Sort of.

Baffert didn't personally apply the antifungal ointment that contained the steroid betamethasone, but someone who works for him did.

That might be what caused the positive drug test from Medina Spirit after he won the Kentucky Derby.

Baffert said Monday he won't attend the Preakness because he doesn't want to be a distraction. That seems like closing the barn door after the horses have escaped.

He also said he will file for a temporary injunction if Maryland racing officials try to stop Medina Spirit from running in Saturday's Preakness.

The horse should be allowed to race. He definitely did not apply the steroid to himself.

    1. .

From the my bad department, Alabama's Nick Saban and Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher did not coach together many moons ago at West Virginia.

Fisher worked for Saban at LSU, and that's when they played basketball together.

Both are natives of West Virginia.

    1. .

The Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame last week had its first meeting under new President Greg Hatcher, and some good changes were made.

After the board voted to change the bylaws to allow up to 50 board members, 14 new board members were elected. It's obvious Hatcher intends to ensure every college in Arkansas has representation.

He couldn't get everyone the first year, but he has two years to get his plan in motion.

A few of the new board members include David Bazzel, Steve Sullivan, Arkansas State Athletic Director Tom Bowen, UALR wrestling Coach Neil Erisman and former University of Arkansas track standout Lisa Walker, the wife of Darrell Walker.

It also was announced that the annual golf tournament will be June 28 at Chenal Country Club. This year's chairman is Rodney Peel, first vice president of the ASHOF.

In this tournament, which features more prizes than any in the state, there are even awards for finishing last.

The tournament will have morning and afternoon rounds.

While it is very competitive -- What else would you expect from the Hall of Fame? -- it is more fun than night baseball.

Every team will have a celebrity paired with it. For more information, contact Terri Conder-Johnson (501) 313-4158.

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