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An email from an El Dorado doctor Saturday claimed that Julie Cromer Peoples wasn't responsible for the hiring of Chad Morris.

For the record, the Peoples part of her name didn't go with her to her new job at Ohio University.

The doctor's assumption was he has more institutional knowledge of the University of Arkansas football program because he has gone to most of the home games.

He didn't point a finger at anyone. Not Chancellor Joe Steinmetz, who handpicked Cromer, or the board of trustees, which gets its share of blame from conspiracy theorists.

What the trustees did was approve Steinmetz's recommendation, which allowed an interim athletic director to hire a football coach while the chancellor was busy looking for an athletic director.

Steinmetz, who once worked where Cromer now works, opted to get a coach hired before that coach's boss could be hired.

This is where the board of trustees should have said, "Whoa, Nellie." That's not the way things are done in the real world of college athletics.

In fairness and for the sake of transparency, your scribe personally knows two board members.

Sheffield Nelson and Steve Cox are liked and respected, but they never have been sources of mine. I've never asked them to be.

I've also met Tommy Boyer, a very smart businessman, and Dr. Stephen Broughton, a wise and discerning member from Pine Bluff who has the responsibility of chairman of the athletic committee. They never have been sources, either.

When it comes to athletics, as a body, the board is too dysfunctional to be asked to be a source. The trustees are told regularly by UA System President Donald Bobbitt not to think about sports and to focus on academics.

But football, basketball, baseball and track and field always have been the school's top recruiters.

In fact, the board of trustees has a stupid, self-imposed rule that only the current chairman -- who at this time is John Goodson, and who is making some headlines that have nothing to do with the UA -- can address the AD.

If it hadn't been for former trustee David Pryor and current member Cliff Gibson, the $160 million expansion at Reynolds Razorback Stadium that added 3,200 seats for wealthy people would have had a unanimous vote.

The 10-member BOT loses a politically appointed member and gains a politically appointed member every year.

So a few Democrats appointed by Mike Beebe remain, and the rest are Republicans appointed by Asa Hutchinson.

It is wholeheartedly believed they care about the UA, but their involvement in athletics is far too restricted.

The board recently gave Steinmetz a new three-year contract, and Bobbitt -- who gave David Gearhart a six-figure position at the UA after he was forced out as chancellor under a cloud -- received a five-year contract.

The board, which is handicapped by its own rule of hands off the athletic department, approved the hiring of Chad Morris.

The trustees were not involved in any part of the vetting process.

It has been rumored one trustee is working with Yurachek on finding a new football coach. Don't know which one, but one is better than none.

The board of trustees is made up of successful, smart people who make tough decisions on a regular basis. To handcuff them when it comes to athletics is mind-boggling.

Truth is, they didn't find and hire Morris, but they shouldn't have approved such a ridiculous contract -- one the school, not the Razorback Foundation, is paying off.

UA academics stands on its own merit. Athletics is where the ultimate bosses need to spend more time right now.

Sports on 12/01/2019

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