FAYETTEVILLE — The basketball court in Bud Walton Arena was damaged by flooding late last week.
Arkansas associate athletic director Kevin Trainor confirmed the damage to the playing court in an emailed statement on Tuesday afternoon.
“This past Friday, Bud Walton Arena experienced water infiltration on some portions of the playing floor and areas surrounding the playing floor following heavy rains overnight,” Trainor said in an email. “Currently and throughout the remainder of this week the floor will be unavailable while the athletic department works to remove any excess moisture and completes a full assessment of any potential long-term damage to the playing surface.”
The extent of the damage — or how much it will cost to fix it — is not immediately clear. But the issue has pushed the Arkansas men’s and women’s basketball teams out of Bud Walton Arena for the time being.
Trainor said individual workouts are being held at another location.
It’s also not known at this point when the floor can be used again, but both the men’s and women’s teams will begin preseason practices early next month.
The water damage came a few weeks after Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long revealed he has gotten more “resistance” than expected from fans and donors about the program’s plans to build a $20 to $25 million basketball practice facility. The facility, which is part of Arkansas’ three-pronged “Never Yield” campaign, would provide practice courts for both the men’s and women’s programs.
“We want to provide some flexibility to do some things in Bud Walton Arena,” Long said at the time, adding that the facility would also open the arena for concerts and speeches on campus. “That basketball practice facility allows us to do it. And allows us to become more efficient with our student-athletes’ time.”
Long admitted some of the resistance was because of the program’s struggles over the past decade. But he said men’s basketball coach Mike Anderson is on his way to restoring the program, but needs help and believes the facility is key.
“We all know in fundraising, people give far more to a winner than they do to a program that's trying to come up,” Long said in early September. “The conversation with donors, they want to be associated with winning programs. There are many reasons why our basketball program hasn't reached back to the heights we all want it to. But one of those, I will tell you, is a basketball practice facility.
“That doesn't take the place of a great head coach. That doesn't take the place of great recruiting. It doesn't take the place of a great university to attract them to in the first place. I'm very excited about what Mike Anderson's doing. He's going to build it. We're going to get this facility for him and when he does it's going to be a game-changer, just like the Fred W. Smith Center is for football.”
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau