Newly hired Arkansas football coach John L. Smith was apparently cracking jokes at SEC Media Day this morning, but when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jeff Schultz asked him, “do you own a motorcycle”, Smith resisted the temptation to respond, “that’s a clown question, bro.” That’s just as well, because it’s pretty clear that in the wake of Bobby Petrino’s eventful departure from Arkansas, Schultz considers “the invertebrate” and his successor a total joke. “This is what happens when a college athletic program hitches its wagon to the morally bankrupt,” scolds Schultz, who must be willing to admit this has been some kind of year for moral bankruptcy in college football.
Athletic director Jeff Long went behind the Falcons’ back and hired Petrino. They gave him everything he wanted. They played dumb when he hired his mistress for a legitimate job posting. They asked only for wins in return. In the end, they got a mangled Harley and national humiliation. (How Long still has a job for enabling this mess is remarkable.)
Smith hasn’t been a head coach for six years. He went 14-21 in his last three years at Michigan State. He got the Weber State job because, well, it’s Weber State and he went to school there.
As if overcoming the emotional trauma of Petrino’s clumsy philandering and firing isn’t enough, Smith is trying to function as an SEC head coach while basically suffering from financial ruin. Seriously. He admits that a series of failed real estate ventures likely will lead to him to declare bankruptcy soon. That might explain why he was willing to take a U-turn out of Weber State and grab the short-term job for $850,000.