Arkansas fires AD Jeff Long; football coach Bret Bielema's status in doubt

Is Bielema's job at stake after Arkansas AD firing? (1:55)

Mark Schlabach explores the firing of Arkansas AD Jeff Long and what that could mean for head football coach Bret Bielema. (1:55)

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long was fired on Wednesday, with the school's chancellor saying Long had "lost the support of many of our fans, alumni, key supporters, and members of the university leadership."

Julie Cromer Peoples, the school's associate vice chancellor for athletics and senior associate athletics director, was named Long's replacement on an interim basis.

Arkansas said it will honor the provisions of Long's contract, which runs through June 30, 2022.

"The decision to change leadership in our Athletics Department is not an easy one, and was made after great deliberation, discussion and thought, after consultation with the Board of Trustees and President [Donald] Bobbitt," chancellor Joseph Steinmetz said in a statement.

"Since coming to Fayetteville in 2008, Jeff has led our department with character and integrity and helped move us forward in so many ways. However, over the past year, Jeff has lost the support of many of our fans, alumni, key supporters, and members of the university leadership, support that I believe is critical in our pursuit of excellence. I want to thank Jeff for his commitment and service to our University and to the State of Arkansas and, on behalf of the Razorback Family, I want to wish Jeff and his family all of the best in the future."

The school's dismissal of Long puts football coach Bret Bielema's status in some doubt. Long hired Bielema from Wisconsin in December 2012, a move praised at the time because Bielema had won three consecutive Big Ten championships. But Bielema is just 29-32 as Razorbacks coach, and the team is 4-6 this season.

"I think the part that I've enjoyed during my time here is Jeff, from day one to where we are today, has been awesome," Bielema said on the SEC coaches teleconference Wednesday.

"For our student-athletes, everything he stands for, everything he's tried to give them off the field, on the field, all the services we provide, all the support that we've given," Bielema added.

Long was the first chair of the College Football Playoff selection committee. Long had previously been athletic director at Pitt and held the same post at Eastern Kentucky.

Long will remain on the CFP selection committee, executive director Bill Hancock said. Long's term expires in February 2018.

The decision was made on Wednesday afternoon in a teleconference with Hancock and the CFP management committee, which is comprised of the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick. They unanimously voted to invite Long to remain on the committee for the final three meetings, and Long has accepted the invitation.

"Jeff is a valued member of the committee," Hancock said. "Like the others, he's a football expert. He did a tremendous job as chairman of the committee for two years, both inside the room and externally. We want to be at full strength with our best people."

Bielema is under contract through the 2020 season and would be owed a buyout of about $15 million, sources said, if he's fired without cause.

ESPN's Mark Schlabach contributed to this report.