FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long is no longer the chairman of the College Football Playoff selection committee.
That doesn’t mean he won’t face difficult choices in his final two seasons as a member of the committee.
With No. 3 Louisville (3-0) moving up the rankings after its 63-20 win over Florida State last week, that makes it possible Long could sit in on committee discussions about including the Cardinals — led by former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino — in the playoff.
They are discussions Long said on Wednesday before a meeting of the Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club that he won’t recuse himself from, despite the fact he fired Petrino in 2012. The coach wrecked his motorcycle, leading to revelations of a mistress who worked in the athletic department.
“No, there’s no reason for me to recuse myself,” Long said. “I think Louisville is a fine football program, and they demonstrated that after three weeks of the season. We’ve got six more weeks before we rank a group of teams.”
Members of the committee recuse themselves from the selection process when their own schools or conflicts of interest arise.
When asked if he was concerned about the perception of a lack of objectivity concerning Petrino, Long simply said, “No.”
Petrino was 34-17 in four seasons at Arkansas, leading the school to the Sugar Bowl following the 2010 season and a No. 5 final ranking the follow season. He is 20-9 in his third season at Louisville, his second coaching stint at the school.