Arkansas Razorbacks Coach John L. Smith Files for Bankruptcy

by Mark Friedman  on Thursday, Sep. 6, 2012 3:53 pm  

John L. Smith

Arkansas Razorbacks football coach John L. Smith filed for Chapter 7 liquidation Thursday, listing between $10 million and $50 million in debts.

The voluntary bankruptcy, filed in the Western District of Arkansas, is preliminary. The complete filing will be due at a later date.

Smith listed his estimated assets at between $1 million and $10 million.

According to the filing, Smith indicated that the debts were "primarily business debts." In July, Smith said several land investments he made in Kentucky had gone sour.

At a news conference after football practice on Thursday, Smith said he didn't think his financial troubles would affect the team, and that it was out of his hands now, "turned over to the professionals." He called the filing a "weight off [his] shoulders."

"We will let the professionals handle it, and that's enough to be said about that, I guess," he said. "So it's out of my hands, which is good."

Smith's bankruptcy attorney, Jill Jacoway of Fayetteville, was unavailable for comment Thursday afternoon. When asked for comment, a University of Arkansas Athletic Department football spokesman referred to Smith's comments to The Associated Press in July.

That was the first time Smith disclosed his bankruptcy plans. At the time, he told The AP he wasn't 100 percent certain he'd have to declare. But he said he wanted to disclose his financial problems so they wouldn't be a distraction during the football season.

The AP also reported that one of Smith's former partners, John Mason, filed for bankruptcy in December in Kentucky, listing Smith as one of his creditors. In his bankruptcy filing, Mason listed liabilities totaling between $10 million and $50 million.

Mason's filing listed $250,000 in debt to one of Smith's investment limited liability corporations, while also listing an unknown amount of debt to Smith personally. The filing also listed numerous banks as creditors, with Fifth Third Bank in North Carolina listed as the largest.

The UA hired Smith in April to replace Bobby Petrino, who was fired in April. Smith had been an assistant coach under Petrino for three seasons before leaving the UA in December to coach at Weber State.

Smith has a 10-month, $850,000 contract with the UA. Long told The AP that Smith was up front about his financial problems during the hiring process.

 

 

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