FAYETTEVILLE — University of Arkansas’ vice-chancellor and director of athletics Hunter Yurachek is staying busy despite all sports being halted at this time due to COVID-19.
Yurachek took time out of his schedule to meet with the media on Friday. Among the topics discussed were what he will be doing during this time.
“I’m going to get ready for the 2020-21 season, because we need to make that really special for our student-athletes,” Yurachek said. “We’re already in the preparation for our fall sports from next year from a marketing and promotions and ticket sales standpoint and our strategic planning for that. We’ll spend a great deal of time on that.
“We have a standing conference call as SEC athletic directors at 11 o’clock every morning for the foreseeable future, because this has been a fluid situation. I think it will continue to be for the next several weeks. We have plenty to keep us busy. I will tell you I’ll miss watching our student-athletes compete tremendously. That is something that is just icing on the cake for most of us in college athletics, and that will be something that will be a huge void in my life for the next several weeks, as it will be for most of us in this room.”
Yurachek also was asked how he’s handling this situation?
“I think what I’ve drawn upon is our senior staff and our head coaches around the country is just basic common sense,” Yurachek said. “Really taking a step back and understanding that as much as we want this to be about sports that right now it’s not about sports. That’s not what is important. It’s about everybody in this room, our student athletes, our staff, and making sure that we try to minimize the spread of the coronavirus as much as we can by eliminating these large gatherings and things that we’ve been advised to do.”
Much like many businesses around the state and nation Yurachek has many staff members working from home if possible.
“The university is still open and will remain open next week,” Yurachek said. “We’ll start handling that on a case-to-case basis. We’ve asked our head coaches, and they put in a significant number of hours, that for the time being they remain local and accessible by phone.
“I think you’ll see some of our non-essential employees, we’ll allow them the opportunity to work from a remote location, their house, as possible. Right now, the university is still open. I assume we’ll have some student athletes that will remain on campus until spring break starts, that we’ll need to provide some care for as we talked about from an academic standpoint, mental health and nutrition.”
On Sunday, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced schools in Arkansas will close beginning Tuesday and remain that way until the conclusion of spring break.