Arkansas Football Coach John L. Smith's Financial Problems Overblown

James BrownSenior Analyst IJuly 7, 2012

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - APRIL 24:   New Head Coach John L. Smith of the Arkansas Razorbacks speaks to the media at the press conference to announce him as new Head Coach in the Raymond Miller Room on April 24, 2012 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Arkansas Razorbacks football program has had a dark cloud following them in the offseason. That cloud is still hanging around as it was reported (via USA Today) that the Razorbacks' new head coach, John L. Smith is preparing to file bankruptcy, perhaps even during the season.

It is understandable that this type of story makes headlines considering the atmosphere around the football program. Smith was hired to replace Bobby Petrino, who was fired amid controversy that included a mistress and inappropriate payouts. Smith was approached by the Razorbacks as a safe ten-month hire to right the ship and be a disciplinarian. It makes sense that Smith is under a microscope and that his financial issues would be viewed as a concern, but this issue is way overblown.

Smith is not hiding anything and athletic director Jeff Long admitted that he was well aware of the financial issues before hiring him. The money problems stem from bad investments in the real estate market and not from any wrongdoing. Smith is taking responsibility for his actions, unlike the previous coach and is facing them head-on.

In fact, Smith is talking about this now so it does not become a distraction during the season.

"From a personal standpoint, I don't want the university being embarrassed, but I'm not embarrassed," Smith said. "It's something that's happened. I made some mistakes, and to be honest with you, I'm a football coach, not a businessman."

Smith should be lauded for his actions and it is this kind of honest approach that is sorely needed in Fayetteville. Smith is becoming the leader and the head coach that this Razorbacks team needs.

The Razorbacks have potential to have one of the best seasons in school history and now it is time to put the controversies in the past and focus on football. The dark clouds are starting to dissipate and it looks like clear skies ahead for the Razorbacks.

James Brown is a B/R featured columnist and can be followed on Twitter. Feel free to contact James at He is also a contributor at Bookie Blitz, a sports picks website.