Arkansas' Smith files Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 3:02 PM

Chuck Bartels

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.— Arkansas coach John L. Smith filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition Thursday for debts he incurred through real estate investments in Kentucky.

Smith told The Associated Press in July he expected to make the filing but also was trying to avoid it.

Documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of Arkansas show Smith has assets of between $1 million and $10 million and debts of between $10 million and $50 million. The filing is preliminary and more details will be added to the record later.

A Chapter 7 filing is used to liquidate debts, as opposed to chapters 11 and 13 which are used for reorganization.

Smith discussed his dismal financial condition during the summer because he didn’t want his situation to become a distraction when the No. 8 Razorbacks started playing games.

Smith said in July that he began the land investments when he was coaching Louisville from 1998-2002 and that he and other investors lost money when the real estate market softened.

After Arkansas fired Bobby Petrino in the spring, Smith came on board for a 10-month contract worth $850,000. He left Weber State, where he had accepted the head coaching job.

Athletic director Jeff Long told the AP that Smith had been candid about his financial situation and he didn’t hold it against him, especially considering the economy.

Arkansas spokesman Derek Satterfield said he didn’t anticipate the program would issue a statement Thursday.

Messages were left seeking comment from Smith’s attorney, Jill Jacoway of Fayetteville.

Smith said in July he didn’t want his financial woes to impact the school.

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

Arkansas (1-0) plays Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday at Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium.

Sign up for e-mail news updates.