Arkansas Football Faces More Distractions

Coach John L. Smith to File Bankruptcy

The Arkansas Razorbacks will have more to worry about this year besides Southeast Conference Rivals Alabama and LSU this year. Fresh off of the Bobby Petrino scandal, the news come out today that current Arkansas Razorback’s football coach John L. Smith is having to file for bankruptcy protection to alleviate a mounting poor financial situation. Smith told The Associated Press that he is making plans to declare bankruptcy, perhaps during the upcoming Razorback football season.

Smith, a former coach at Michigan State and Louisville, was hired in April 2012 to replace Bobby Petrino. Bobby Petrino gave Arkansas football a black eye with his mistress scandal in April. Petrino was fired after revelations that he had hired his mistress to a position in the Arkansas Razorbacks football department, plus, the married Petrino had given her $20,000 in gifts. More about the Bobby Petrino scandal.

Arkansas Fires Coach Bobby Petrino Following Scandal
Smith is no stranger to the Arkansas Razorbacks football program, he was an Arkansas assistant for three seasons under the aforementioned Petrino before leaving in December to become the coach at his alma mater, Weber State. Following Petrino’s unexpected firing, Smith approached University of Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long about the Razorbacks head football coach vacancy and was later signed to a 10-month, $850,000 contract. Long said Smith was up front about his financial problems during the hiring process, and he was comfortable the issues surrounding his financial situation wouldn’t affect Smith’s ability to coach the Razorbacks in 2012 and beyond.

John L. Smith always believed real estate development was the safest investment of all, saying “you may not make money, but you won’t lose money.” The Arkansas coach has had to rethink that philosophy in recent years after several of his land deals went bust in Kentucky. The series of bad business investments has left Smith facing the real possibility of declaring bankruptcy to get a “fresh start”. Smith wasn’t sure exactly how much money he owed to creditors, including some of his former partners, but he has started preparing to declare bankruptcy now. He wasn’t 100 percent certain he’ll have to declare, but said “that’s where I am proceeding to get my plate cleaned up.” There are several forms of debt relief available to people facing a financial crisis. Filing bankruptcy is one of the many debt relief forms available to individuals in financial need.

When people are considering filing bankruptcy, there is a definite stigmata that goes with filing bankruptcy. The pressure multiplies when you are a public figure. John L. Smith is no exception as he has been affected by his current situation. Smith said, “There have been some sleepless nights trying to get this resolved,” and Smith said, “There comes a point in time where you say ‘Enough is enough,’ and I want it cleaned up and whatever we have to do, we have to do.” Sounds like Smith is in the right mind-frame and is aggressively seeking out a solution to his financial woes.

Hopefully Smith can get his bankruptcy filed and move on to earning his $850K salary by leading the Razorbacks to another winning season. Off field distractions are usually never good for a team to endure. Usually it is the players providing the cause for concern but in the case of the 2012 Razorbacks its a former and current coach keeping the Razorback program in the news.

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