Arkansas AD apologizes for incident with Kentucky reporter

Hunter Yurachek speaks during a press event announcing his hiring as athletics director at the University of Arkansas on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (Flyer photo/Todd Gill)

Arkansas’ athletic director has apologized after a Kentucky student journalist said his cellphone was grabbed and thrown to the ground by a Razorbacks staffer following an early exit at the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

Assistants had to restrain Askansas coach Eric Musselman a couple of times during a 67-61 loss Friday night in the quarterfinals, where No. 18 Texas A&M rallied from a 13-point deficit.

The journalist, Jack Weaver of the University of Kentucky independent student newspaper the Kentucky Kernel, tweeted video showing Musselman walking off the court after the game and a staffer behind him appearing to knock the phone out of Weaver’s hand. Weaver was covering Kentucky, which played in the next game.

Arkansas’ vice chancellor and athletic director, Hunter Yurachek, issued a statement Saturday saying the actions of support staff member Riley Hall were “not appropriate or reflective of our program.” Yurachek also said that while there was no malicious intent, “Mr. Hall expressed his regret that while leaving the floor his engagement inadvertently resulted in knocking the reporter’s cellphone from his hand.”

With the loss, Arkansas (20-13) must wait until the NCAA Tournament bracket announcement Sunday to learn its postseason fate.

Texas A&M (24-8) advanced for the second straight year to the semifinals, where it will play Vanderbilt, which beat Kentucky.