The Whispers Blog

Arkansas' breaking business news blog, with news and commentary from the Arkansas Business staff.
Send us tips.

UA Extends Mike Anderson's Contract Through 2020

Mike Anderson

The University of Arkansas has extended men's basketball coach Mike Anderson's contract through March 2020. 

Anderson, in his fourth season at the school, will make $2.029 million per year, with a total compensation of more than $2.2 million, according to the school. The extension includes a $1 million buyout if the UA fires Anderson, or if Anderson takes a job at another school. 

A clause in the original contract, which was to expire in June 2018, prohibits Anderson from accepting a job at another institution in the Southeastern Conference.

More: Check out the extension here (PDF).

The following incentives were included in the extension:

Athletic Incentives

  • $400,000 for NCAA national championship
  • $200,000 for Final Four appearance
  • $100,000 for Elite 8 appearance
  • $100,000 for SEC regular season championship
  • $50,000 for Sweet 16 appearance
  • $50,000 for SEC Tournament championship
  • $25,000 for NCAA Tournament appearance
  • $25,000 for National Coach of the Year
  • $25,000 for SEC Coach of the year

Academic Incentives

  • $25,000 for Academic Performance Rate at intervals of 930, 950, 970 and 990 for a cumulative total of $100,000.
  • $25,000 for graduation rates at intervals of 60 percent, 65 percent, 70 percent and 75 percent for a cumulative total of $100,000.

The men's basketball team is currently 11-2 and ranked No. 23 in the Associated Press poll. In his tenure in Fayetteville, Anderson is 70-41 overall and 26-26 in conference play. 

Mountaire Corp. Owner Argues Influence of Rich Donors on Politics

Politico recently ranked the top 100 donors to political campaigns in 2014 and an Arkansan made the list. 

At No. 13 was Ronnie Cameron, owner of Mountaire Corp., who donated $4.2 million between his company and personal checkbooks. The donations were made to U.S. Sens.-elect Tom Cotton and Joni Ernst, in addition to $1.3 million to the Republican Governors Association and $2 million to Freedom Partners Action Fund, a Koch brothers operation. 

The Politico analysis found the top 100 donors gave $323 million, compared to $356 million by about 4.75 million people that gave $200 or less. Cameron argued that the influence from the rich isn’t greater these days.

“I doubt the amount of influence is any more concentrated in the hand of a few than it was in the 1950s or 1960s,” he told Politico.

He added, “There have always been wealthy individuals that had influence. Our country was founded by the wealthy landowners having the authority and representing all the people.”

Here’s more from the article:

Faulting Politico for omitting contributions from labor unions, which lean left, in its analysis (though it also omitted contributions from most major corporations, which tend to lean right), Cameron asserted that wealthy conservative donors — even at their most potent — would only offset the liberal tendencies of influential institutions. “Between Hollywood, the media and the unions, their huge influence by a relative few has long exceeded the influence paid for by people able and willing to give personal money to deliver a message.” 

Cameron was also busy in the Arkansas political scene, donating $76,750 in 2014, according to the Arkansas Secretary of State website.

KAIT Says It Will Launch An NBC Affiliate

NBC is coming to Jonesboro.

Raycom Media-owned KAIT announced in a Dec. 18 post on its website that it will broadcast an NBC affiliate. The official move was announced as "coming soon" with no start date, or other details, identified.

TVSpy reported Monday that the broadcast will begin Jan. 26, with KAIT simulacasting news from Raycom's Memphis NBC affiliate, WMC.

KAIT is an ABC affiliate and is the only commercial television station in the local viewing area to broadcast from Jonesboro. Other local stations broadcast from Memphis. 

Previously: Hatton Weeks, KAIT’s news director, announced earlier this month that he is leaving the station in January to take the news director's job at WLBT-TV and Mississippi News Now in Jackson, Mississippi. He’s been KAIT’s news director since 2008. WLBT is also owned by Raycom.

How Much do the Razorbacks Get for Texas Bowl Appearance?

Tonight, the Arkansas Razorbacks and Texas Longhorns will renew their Southwest Conference rivalry in the Advocare V100 Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium in Houston. 

According to CollegeFootballPoll.com and StatisticBrain.com, Arkansas will earn $3 million just for participating. Now, all that money doesn’t go directly to the Razorbacks. The team gets to keep a portion of the purse, but the majority goes to the Southeastern Conference. 

It’s been reported the SEC is expected to get $87.5 million from bowl payouts this year. After individual team retainments for each bowl, the lion’s share will be split equally between each team and the conference office. Last year, the conference divided $292.8 million in total revenue — which includes money earned from football and men's basketball — among its 14 institutions, which comes to more than $20.9 million per school.

For leading the Razorbacks to a bowl game, Bret Bielema will receive a $50,000 bonus, per his contract (PDF).

The players won’t walk away empty handed, either. Each player will receive an adidas Team Speed duffel bag, a cap and belt buckle, according to SportsBusinessDaily.com

The Hogs and ‘Horns kickoff tonight at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

IKEA is Coming to Memphis

On Dec. 15, IKEA tweeted this rendering of its planned store in Memphis.

Everyone's favorite Swedish furniture store is coming to Memphis. That's right. Pretty soon, Arkansas shoppers will only be a couple hours away from IKEA.

WREG in Memphis reports Tennessee's first IKEA store will be off Germantown Parkway, behind Costco. It will be the company's 41st store in the United States.

More than 225 jobs are expected to be created, salaries are not known at this time.

The company has said it will raise its minimum wage to $10.76 per hour. 

An additional 500 jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase.

A news conference with IKEA officials and Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton is expected to reveal more details, including the store's exact location and open date.

Ahead of the press conference, IKEA tweeted this rendering of the Memphis location:

Search

Latest Arkansas Business Poll

Is the new religious objections law a good compromise?