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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas fans call the Hogs before the football season opener against Florida A&M Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, during the game at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. - Photo by Ben Goff

FAYETTEVILLE -- The Arkansas Razorbacks' last two basketball games exemplify what most longtime Razorbacks fans know deep down to be true.

Even if called a stadium debate, there truly is no Arkansas statewide debate when the Razorbacks play as they played during their last Saturday basketball games in Fayetteville and North Little Rock.

From every corner of the state and all in between, Arkansans unite in Hog-calling for the Razorbacks.

Technically, call them representing the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. But whether it's the alum coming back to campus, the fan who never gets to Fayetteville except to see them play, or the fan who never sets foot in Fayetteville but gets to the annual football game at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock and/or the annual basketball game at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock, the Razorbacks represent and belong to Arkansas. All of Arkansas.

All of Arkansas seems to be passionately embracing Coach Mike Anderson's basketball Razorbacks these last two Saturdays. Fans filled Walton Arena in Fayetteville to see them manhandle Minnesota. Fans then packed Verizon to see the Hogs trounce Troy.

How best physically and fiscally to keep the Razorbacks belonging to all of Arkansas besets brand new Arkansas Athletics Director Hunter Yurachek.

Basketball is easy. With 18 home games, it's no problem scheduling one at Verizon.

It's different for football. Always has been.

It used to be that some UA students in Fayetteville griped that four games were played in War Memorial and only three on campus though the state's economics dictated deferring to central and eastern Arkansas.

Things changed. Upon putting the Razorbacks into the SEC, then-Arkansas Athletics Director Frank Broyles knew the Razorbacks needed to play big-time catch-up on their campus football facility in a league increasingly hosting football only on its campuses.

Houston Nutt's 9-3 1998 Razorbacks galvanized a state, the economy of which most boomed in Northwest Arkansas. An expanded, renovated Reynolds Razorback Stadium debuted in 2000.

It shined in sharp contrast to the deteriorating, smaller War Memorial.

That contrast has only increased. So did the program's desire under 2008-17 Athletics Director Jeff Long for the bigger money netted playing football in Fayetteville.

The fiscal pressure only increases for more in Fayetteville.

Long, who was fired last month, launched an ongoing minimum estimated $160 million luxury seating expansion in the Reynolds Razorback Stadium north end zone.

A national tax bill nearing passage so threatens tax write-offs accompanying season-ticket purchases that universities nationally are frantically extending invitations to purchase 2018 season tickets now before tax rules change.

Garnering every football cent in Fayetteville seems essential but not the most essential.

Above all costs, the statewide unity that the Razorbacks provide always is their best abiding asset.

So whatever the UA brass decides after the 2018 Arkansas vs. Ole Miss game fulfills the current War Memorial contract, they must convincingly convey that it's all about unity and not the money.

For without the Razorbacks belonging to all of Arkansas, much of Arkansas might cease buying into a program that would risk wasting what money can't buy.

Sports on 12/18/2017

Print Headline: Razorbacks belong to all of Arkansas

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  • mloydcaingmailcom
    December 18, 2017 at 6:44 a.m.

    If the Hogs are required to play at the "Dump on Markham", Little Rock and Pulaski County need to make major upgrades (which they cannot afford). Skyboxes, new video boards and at least 10,000 additional seats. Little Rock games just don't make sense financially. ASU, UCA and UAPB cannot even fill their small stadiums, so even say a UCA/ASU match up in LR might draw 30,000 tops. Times have changed, NWA is the state's economic engine, LR is merely the capital city.
    If the UA pulls out of Little Rock, you might as well remove the end zone seating and make the stadium "right sized" for ASU, UCA, UAPB and high schools.

  • Delta2
    December 18, 2017 at 7:59 a.m.

    Sorry, not everyone buys into this "rah rah, Razorbacks are Arkansas" garbage. Some people have discovered that the world doesn't end at the state line. UAF could easily be called UNWA.

  • hurricane46
    December 18, 2017 at 10:04 a.m.

    Does the writer know that there is more than one college in Arkansas?, with a few exceptions Razorback football hasn't been relevant since the 60's.

  • Jfish
    December 18, 2017 at 11:45 a.m.

    Have to disagree Nate. Years ago the UA was the only game in town and the only team televised when you only had the big three networks. Now fans have many more tv choices plus the internet. LR used to be a ghost town when UA played on tv, but nowadays I can hardly tell any difference when driving down Markham. Also, I don't get all the complaints about War Memorial. I understand that the concession areas and restrooms might need to be upgraded, but otherwise, FB stadiums are mostly concrete bowls with bleachers except for the wealthy who sit inside. UA needs to focus on their 50K or so diehard fans half of whom reside in LR and quit trying to be Tennessee or Michigan. A game in LR with Memphis, ASU or UCA would easily sellout every year.