So, let me make one thing clear before you read this. I graduated from the University of Arkansas. I love the Hogs and I love Northwest Arkansas, but I live in Little Rock. It’s home.
I just want to lay that out first. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and specifically columnist Wally Hall, recently reported that former Hogs athletic director Jeff Long made some really bad decisions……..
AS THE DAY IS LONG:
Okay, all of these things are true:
—Long spent $59 million on a “shadeless expansion Razorback Stadium didn’t need”
—He poorly negotiated Bielema’s buyout
—He had a bad “right hand person” in Julie Cromer, who hired Chad Morris
—And, yes, it resulted in two the worst seasons in Hog football history
Okay, okay, okay. We get it!!!! Let’s stop beating a dead horse. The past is the past and there’s nothing we can do about it. It happened. It’s over. We’ve corrected the situation. Let’s move forward.
The ADG also reports that current athletic director Hunter Yurachek has no plans to nullify the every other year “day after Thanksgiving” game because Central Arkansas didn’t meet the numbers required.
The announced attendance of last game at War Memorial — the Nov. 29 loss to Missouri — was 33,961, well short of the benchmark attendance number of 47,000 laid out in the UA’s contract extension signed in May 28.
Why so low?
Because Fayetteville’s numbers were way down too. War Memorial Stadium had about 20,000 empty seats (36% empty) and while Reynolds Razorback Stadium averaged 53,799, which means it was about 30% empty.
Because our team has been terrible for the past two years. We went 4 and 20 and fired our coach during the season, which is a very rare thing.
Good for Hunter Yurachek for recognizing that this is not a Central Arkansas vs. Northwest Arkansas thing. Good for Kevin Crass, chairman of the War Memorial Stadium Commission, and the rest of those involved for doing what they can and thinking of new ideas on how to generate more attendance at WMS games like concerts before or after games. Good for them for doing what they could to upgrade the stadium’s wireless systems, visitor’s locker room and soon our locker room.
The bad is for the people of Central Arkansas who have a chip on their shoulder and thinking it’s our birthright to have a bunch of games in Little Rock when it clearly makes sense to have the majority of the games on campus.
And, bad for those in Northwest Arkansas who think it’s stupid to have a game in Little Rock (a community that carried the program for decades before Wal-Mart, Tyson and JB Hunt were established) and who don’t understand how costly it is to drive up to Fayetteville, buy tickets, stay two nights in a hotel, buy dinners, lunches and gas to get there, not to mention the time it takes to get there if you’re from anywhere east of Little Rock. I haven’t even mentioned the toll it takes on recruiting.
We know where the people from Central Arkansas are on game days in Fayetteville. They’re in Fayetteville.
Where are the people from Northwest Arkansas when we play games in Little Rock?
AT THE END OF THE DAY:
This is a one-team state. People may love, or hate the Cowboys, but nearly everyone is for the Hogs. They are our team. They always have been.
It shouldn’t be too much to ask for people from Little Rock to go to a few Hog games in Fayetteville every year and it surely can’t be too much to ask people from NWA to come to Little Rock once every other year.
Additionally, most of us who like to go duck hunting (which is a big support to Arkansas’ economy) are also Hog fans, and we can get from Stuttgart to Little Rock to do both in a day. But, it’s very difficult to get from Stuttgart to Fayetteville after a morning of hunting and then pay what I mentioned before.
And, how much sense does it make to play a game on campus during Thanksgiving break when none of the students are there? Hunter Yurachek is doing his job and he’s doing it well.
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