A board gag order would just be a Band-Aid

Posted: February 2, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

Ben Hyneman, shown in this Sept. 13, 2013, file photo, was one of seven members on a 2017 advisory committee to help find a new athletics director at Arkansas.

Apparently the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, the flagship university in this great state, has a board of trustees that is considering emulating Arkansas State University and the University of Texas.

Outgoing Chairman Ben Hyneman of Jonesboro is proposing a rule that only the chairman can speak for the board of trustees, and ASU and UT were cited as examples of schools that have adopted that policy.

Call it the Hyneman Move, a gagging order.

This proposal comes weeks after the UA board had numerous meetings, several in private because personnel matters of a firing nature were discussed. When the dust settled, Athletic Director Jeff Long and head football Coach Bret Bielema had been fired.

It now appears, at least to this reporter, someone on the board thought there were leaks to the media and this would be the Band-Aid to stop any such bleeding.

Incoming chairman Mark Waldrip would probably be a great spokesman, but the idea of censoring people like John Goodson, Sheffield Nelson, David Pryor, Cliff Gibson III and Tommy Boyer seems outrageous.

And like Goodson, Nelson and Gibson, fellow board members Morril Harriman and Kelly Eichler are attorneys and Dr. Stephen Broughton is a highly respected psychiatrist. To put it another way, these are smart people.

Granted, the 10-member board can vote to deny themselves freedom of speech and may do so, but it would be surprising.

Not one person appointed to that prestigious board by Gov. Asa Hutchinson or former Gov. Mike Beebe was put there to be a rubber stamp.

They were appointed for leadership that includes making tough decisions that are best for the UA, its alumni and financial supporters from all walks of life.

Hyneman, a nice guy who is very successful in the insurance business, loves his alma mater and no doubt feels the new policy would be best for the school.

The timing, though, makes it appear more like a gag order.


When the Arkansas Razorbacks basketball team lost to Texas A&M 80-66, the Hogs RPI fell from No. 21 to No. 29, which is still pretty good, but with the meatiest part of their schedule coming up, they can't afford to lose many more games and still hope to get in the NCAA Tournament.

Obviously the Razorbacks can't overlook anyone, but of their final nine games four are against teams they are competing with for a spot on the Big Dance card.

They get Texas A&M in a rematch but at Bud Walton on Feb 17 and the Aggies' RPI is No. 30. On Feb. 20 they host Kentucky who is 13th. They go to Alabama (41st) on Feb. 24 and host Auburn (7th) on Feb. 27.

The Hogs also have road games at LSU (Saturday), Ole Miss and Missouri.

Reality is starting to set in as SEC teams beat each other, and the likelihood of getting more than six in the NCAA Tournament is looking more difficult each week.

Those RPI numbers are official ones used by the NCAA, and while that is far from the only criteria to be a participant in March Madness those numbers matter.

In other areas, the Hogs are 3-6 against Top 75 teams, 2-0 against teams in the next 60, 5-1 against teams ranked between 136-240 and 5-0 against those ranked higher than 241st.

According to the NCAA, the worst loss the Hogs have was at home against LSU, 75-54, on Jan. 10, but the Razorbacks have a chance to even that score at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Baton Rouge on the SEC Network.

Sports on 02/02/2018