Arkansas AD sounds off on Michigan cancelling series with Hogs
Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long shares coach Bret Bielema’s disappointment that Michigan has backed out of its series with the Razorbacks in favor of renewing its rivalry with Notre Dame.
“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,” 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.”
While the 2018 season is a long ways off for players, coaches and fans, it’s relatively short notice for administrators who handle scheduling. Complicating Arkansas’ ability to schedule another Power 5 opponent is the annual conference meeting with Texas A&M in Dallas, meaning the Razorbacks are giving up a potential home game every other year already.
Bielema, who spoke earlier to the Chicago Tribune, also released a statement on the cancellation.
“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. “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.”