Rotnei Clarke closure could come Monday

FAYETTEVILLE (Arkansas News) — The Rotnei Clarke saga remained without official closure Saturday, one day after the guard publicly declared his desire to transfer from Arkansas.

Clarke did not hide his disappointment when speaking to on Friday, saying he had requested a release from Arkansas last Monday. The request has been denied by coach Mike Anderson even though two other players — Glenn Bryant and Jeff Peterson — recently had their requests to transfer granted.

Arkansas continued to offer no comment on the subject for the second straight day. The apparent reason? Athletic director Jeff Long has been out of town and won't be back in the office until Monday. Clarke and Long are expected to meet Monday to discuss a release.

The Razorbacks also offered no confirmation on a Friday night report from local television station KNWA, in which a source said Anderson told players in a team meeting Clarke is no longer part of the program. It would be no surprise, considering Clarke's decision to speak out publicly about his situation Friday.

The Oklahoma native's career with the Razorbacks will end one way or another. But it's not yet known if Clarke's request to be released will be honored by the program.

If Arkansas does not sign off on a scholarship release, Clarke would have to pay his own way to play at another school.

Attempts to reach Clarke were once again unsuccessful Saturday. He has not spoken to the local media since the end of the 2010-11 season. His father, Conley Clarke, said in a text message Saturday evening he hadn't heard anything from Arkansas.

Anderson's decision to deny Clarke's request has generated its share of criticism from national media outlets the past two days, though. Matt Norlander of wrote that "if Arkansas and Anderson want to build a successful, long-term model, they can't prevent the team's best player from leaving."

But losing Clarke, who is regarded as one of the nation's best 3-point shooters, will be a big blow to Arkansas. He led the team in scoring last season, averaging 15.2 points a game. Clarke, who has played in 92 games in his career, averages 14.2 points.

His departure also would leave Arkansas with six scholarship players returning next season. Arkansas has five signees, but forward Aaron Ross' eligibility is in question as he awaits ACT test results.

So Clarke's imminent departure would mean Arkansas will be down to 10 scholarship players for 2011-12.