Arkansas AD Jeff Long disappointed in Michigan for cancelling series
Michigan and Notre Dame’s renewed rivalry might be viewed as a great thing for college football. But it definitely wasn’t viewed that way by Arkansas.
To make room for Notre Dame, the Wolverines had to cancel their home-and-home series with Arkansas that was set up for 2018 and 2019.
The Razorbacks will get $2 million in compensation from Michigan for the change of plans, but there still might’ve been some sour grapes about the way it went down.
“Primarily, we are disappointed in Michigan’s timing in pulling out of a non-conference football series between the SEC and the Big Ten that has been set for four years,”Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a statement, per Matt Jones of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “While there are many other quality opponents that would help us strengthen our nonconference schedule, the late notice of Michigan’s cancellation makes securing those games substantially more difficult.
“Our focus will be to find a program that welcomes the opportunity to compete against a nationally respected program in the most competitive conference in college football.”
Bret Bielema echoed those sentiments to the Chicago Tribune, and he joked that the $2 million would go toward a satellite camp in Cabo.
The Arkansas coach and former Wisconsin coach also released a statement about the cancelation.
“As a former player and coach in the Big Ten, I was looking forward to the opportunity for our team to compete against one of my favorite Big Ten conference rivals,” Bielema said in a statement. “I’m disappointed that won’t happen now. But, I know that our administration will work to get a quality nonconference game that will help prepare us to compete in the SEC and nationally.”
Bielema, of course, played for Iowa and coached on the Hawkeye staff. He spent nine seasons at Wisconsin, seven of which he served as the head coach. That fueled his comments this offseason about a possible B1G/SEC challenge.
Unfortunately for Bielema, he got a little further away from that dream on Thursday.