UA Athletic Director comments on illegal video from sideline during Alabama game

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 209 views 

The issue of a “spy” on the Arkansas sideline during the recent unsuccessful match with the Alabama Crimson Tide has been officially addressed, with University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long saying he is confident ESPN and the SEC have taken the right steps.

At issue was what became a viral video of UA Head Coach Bret Bielema getting involved with an Alabama player after a play. In the video, Bielema appears to act as if he was pushed by the Alabama player. While Bielema’s action was somewhat embarrassing (see the video below) to him and the Hogs, questions began to surface about the source of the video, which was not from an approved source.

Any number of fan blogs, radio shows and Facebook posts suggested that a person operating a parabolic microphone next to Bielema was listening to the play calling and then signaling the Alabama bench. ESPN has refuted that scenario, saying the signals are standard methods to communicate between the microphone and camera operators.

However, ESPN did say the person operating the microphone did violate video policy. ESPN issued this statement on the matter: “After a thorough investigation, we determined the conduct of the individual contracted to operate a parab during the Arkansas-Alabama game was unacceptable and in violation of ESPN policy and our rights holder agreements. He has been contacted by our legal department to surrender all footage he improperly obtained and remove any and all posts containing it. We have reviewed and revised existing protocol to protect against this happening in the future.”

Long on Friday (Oct. 16) issued a statement saying he has heard from SEC and ESPN officials about the issue. 

“We are appreciative of the due diligence of the Southeastern Conference and ESPN in response to our request for a review of actions of employees working as part of the television broadcast of the Arkansas-Alabama football game last weekend,” Long said in the statement. “After conducting a thorough investigation, ESPN acted to address the matter while also revising protocols for future broadcasts. We believe the appropriate steps have been taken and consider the matter resolved.”