Reports and photos via social media sites show that Arkansas' basketball arena has been damaged due to flooding. According to the Arkansas News, the freshet of sorts at Bud Walton Arena occurred last Friday after heavy rains Thursday night into Friday morning led to "water infiltration," according to an email from Arkansas senior associate athletic director Kevin Trainor.
“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 water damage 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 an alternate 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.
Nick Mason is a former player with the Hogs and hosts a radio show in Fayetteville, Ark. He took to Twitter and passed along a few photos of the (slight) flooding that's put a damper into preseason proceedings.
Making the matter even more of a hassle -- and embarassing, really -- is the fact Arkansas lacks a true practice facility. It is the only team in the SEC without one. The team was reduced to unorganized practice and workout sessions at the universitiy's recreational center, according to Mason. With Arkansas' first game coming Nov. 8 against SIU-Edwardsville, it's is able to practice as early as this Friday thanks to a new rule that has expanded college basketball's preseason.
But it appears highly unlikely the team will be able to get into Bud Walton Arena in time for that.
Arkansas AD Jeff Long has said before that he's met some resistance on costs for a new practice facility, which is reported to be between $20-25 million and hopes to break ground "soon." As distressful as this is -- some heavy rains causing a full-on shutdown of a 20-year-old arena -- it could be the blessing in disguise that finally puts a shovel into the ground on campus.