Arkansas’s football team was in mourning yesterday following the death of backup tight end Garrett Uekman.
The university said Uekman was pronounced dead at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville, Ark., yesterday afternoon.
The cause of death wasn’t immediately known, but the university said Uekman was found unconscious and unresponsive in his dorm room on campus at approximately 11:15 a.m. He was last seen playing video games by a roommate approximately an hour earlier.
When emergency services personnel arrived, Uekman was in cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at 12:10 p.m.
“Garrett Uekman was a special member of our family, and we are all saddened by his passing,’’ Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said in a statement. “His loss is a terrible shock, and it makes you realize how precious life is.’’
University police lieutenant Mat Mills said there were no suspicious circumstances about Uekman’s death, and his body will be sent to the state medical examiner for an autopsy.
Uekman, 19, redshirted last season for the Razorbacks and played in nine games this season. He was majoring in applied exercise science.
Uekman’s parents released a statement through the university.
“Our son was living his dream of going to the U of A and playing football for the Razorbacks,’’ the statement read. “He loved his school, his coaches, and his teammates and classmates, and was an influence and inspiration to so many people. We ask for your love and prayers for Garrett, our family, and his friends as we all cope with this heavy and painful loss.’’
Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said the university wasn’t aware of any pre-existing medical condition with Uekman. Long also said the school would hold a candlelight vigil tonight in honor of Uekman and said his family had expressed the desire for the No. 3 Razorbacks to play Friday’s game at No. 1 LSU as scheduled.
No bowl game for Miami
Miami is not going to a bowl this season, self-imposing a ban that school officials say was “necessary’’ in response to an ongoing NCAA investigation into the university’s compliance practices.
Players were informed yesterday that Friday’s game against Boston College will be the last this season, even though the Hurricanes have enough wins to qualify for a postseason appearance. By self-imposing a ban, Miami is trying to lessen the impact of whatever sanctions the NCAA hands down once its investigation ends.
“I’m clearly disappointed,’’ said Miami coach Al Golden, who university officials said was not involved in the choice to go forward with the ban. “I believe it’s the right decision and I’m 100 percent behind the decision . . . We’re one step closer to putting these issues behind us.’’
Golden said athletic director Shawn Eichorst and university president Donna Shalala made the decision, although a statement from the university said it was done through consultation with “university leaders, athletic administrators, and outside counsel.’’
The NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference were informed.
Miami is not self-imposing any other penalties, including a reduction in scholarships, at this time.
When players were told of the decision, they took the news rather hard, Golden said.
Miami became bowl eligible Saturday, beating South Florida, 6-3, for its sixth win of the season.
Columbia fires coach
Columbia fired coach Norries Wilson the day after the Lions beat Brown to avoid a winless season. Wilson was hired after the 2005 season and went 5-5 to start his career at Columbia, the winningest season of any first-year coach in school history since the start of Ivy League play in 1956. He is the only head football coach in school history to lead Columbia to victories over Princeton in consecutive seasons, but his overall record was 17-43, 10-32 in the Ivy . . . Alabama safety Will Lowery is out for the season with a torn knee ligament. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Lowery has a torn ACL and will have surgery. Lowery was hurt Saturday against Georgia Southern.