Sports Timeout (Jeff Hankins Publisher's Note)

by Jeff Hankins  on Monday, Mar. 25, 2002 12:00 am  

The former sports journalist in me can't resist the opportunity to weigh in on the University of Arkansas' ever-changing Nolan Richardson saga.

Richardson appears to have two clear goals: he wants more money, and he wants Athletic Director Frank Broyles to fall with him. The racism, unfair treatment and reinstatement issues seem to be nothing more than a means to an end.

Even if Broyles ever had any thoughts about retiring or taking the fall for the benefit of the program, he could never give Richardson the satisfaction of success.

The irony of this debacle is that Richardson could reverse — and perhaps already has — all the progress and breakthroughs he made for African-Americans in his 17 years as head basketball coach.

Discrimination is going to be tough to prove against a university that paid Richardson more than $1 million annually with a long-term contract. The compensation was far and away the best of any public person in Arkansas and among the highest in the country.

It's too early to assess the damage to UA. Chancellor John White in many ways has handled himself incredibly well through a tense situation, but his credibility suffered a big blow when he denounced as false a leaked news report about Richardson's buyout.

We thought the controversy over playing UA football games in Little Rock was the most divisive event ever. The Richardson saga and the ongoing NCAA investigation sadly have stolen the show.

* * *

On a lighter note while keeping with the sports theme, I came across an article in Forbes that reminded me about a new Internet golf site.

The U.S. Golf Association has tied its golf handicapping system with local golf clubs to a Web site, www.ghin.com.

Now this may be the most despised thing I've done since initiating the "Wealthiest Arkansans" feature, but I can't resist: It's my first ranking of golf handicaps among prominent business people and politicians. (See the graphic below.)

I'll admit to having played with several of these golfers and would generally attest to the accuracy. In the interest of fairness, I'm willing to share my index as well — 11.1 — although like most members of the list I would swear I'm not playing to that level right.

A few observations are worth mentioning after reviewing the posted scores:

• Retirement generally is good for improving the golf game.

• State government headaches and acquisition activity are bad for the golf game.

• John Tyson of Tyson Foods Inc. and Red Hudson, retired CEO of the former Hudson Foods, spend time playing an incredible course called Castle Pines Golf Club in Colorado.

• State government agencies have some pretty good golfers at the helm.

• A corporate Alltel golf team would be tough to beat.

• Bill Clark and Bill Dillard may be close business partners in CDI, but I'll bet they have some fierce competition on the course.

Moving forward, publishing this information could have any number of effects: more score postings in an effort to be on the list, better scores to try to move up the list or abandoning the system to dodge either public praise or ridicule.

Have a great golf season.

Arkansas Golf Handicaps

Name — Business Affiliation — USGA Index

1. — John David Lindsey — Lindsey & Associates — 0.2
2. — Jim Keet — Guesthouse International — 1.2
3. — Bill Clark — CDI Contractors — 1.7
4. — Bill Dillard — Dillard's, CDI — 4.4
5. — Warren Stephens — Stephens Inc. — 5.9
6. — Mike Flynn — Alltel — 6.3
7. — Curt Bradbury — Stephens Inc. — 6.4
8. — Jerry Walton — J.B. Hunt Transport — 7.2
9. — Kevin Beebe — Alltel — 7.5
10. — Scott Ford — Alltel — 8.1
11. — Rodger Kline — Acxiom — 9.0
12. — Ray Skelton — U.S. Bank — 9.6
13. — Michael T. Hudson — Investor — 9.8
14. — Mike Murphy — Murphy Oil — 10.2
15. — John Tyson — Tyson Foods — 10.2
16. — Frank Hickingbotham — Investor — 10.6*
17. — Joe T. Ford — Alltel — 10.9*
18. — Tommy May — Simmons First National — 11.6
19. — Ross Whipple — Summit Bank — 12.0*
20. — Jack Fleischauer — Regions Bank — 12.5*
21. — Truman Arnold — Truman Arnold Cos. — 12.9
22. — Leland Tollett — Tyson Foods — 14.2
23. — Red Hudson — Investor — 14.9

Politics

1. — Lu Hardin — Director, Dept. of Higher Education — 4.5
2. — Mike Pickens — Commissioner, Insurance Dept. — 6.6*
3. — Bill Gwatney — State Senator — 8.2
4. — Jim Pickens — Director, Dept. of Economic Development — 8.4
5. — Kurt Knickrehm — Director, Dept. of Human Services — 8.7
6. — Mike Beebe — State Senator — 10.1*
7. — John Boozman — U.S. Representative — 12.9*

Source: U.S. Golf Association *Handicap was not updated in 2001.

(Jeff Hankins can be reached via e-mail at jhankins@abpg.com.)

 

 

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