A committee formed to assess if the University of Arkansas at Little Rock should revive its football program announced Wednesday that the school will not bring football back in the near future.
“While a football program could be a positive addition to the university and the city, by unanimous opinion our group recommends that now is not the right time to start a football program,” the committee wrote in an official conclusion to the school, according to a news release.
The panel — which was formed in the summer of 2017 and featured representatives from the UALR Board of Visitors, the Trojan Advisory Council, Arkansas' Department of Parks and Tourism, the Little Rock mayor’s office and UALR faculty and staff — cited two reasons for not re-establishing its football program:
No. 1: “The establishment of a football program must be a part of the university’s strategic master plan, with clear goals and a commitment and data-informed strategy for long-term sustainable funding model and infrastructure."
No. 2: “At this time, the university should continue to focus on raising the quality and investment in its current 15 intercollegiate athletic programs, including the new wrestling program beginning this fall."
The committee's objective was to interpret results and determine the school's "best course of action" following a football and marching band joint-venture study led by Conventions, Sports and Leisure (CSL), an advisory and consulting firm specializing in new/expanded event facility feasibility studies and master planning.
The study estimated the school's athletic budget would have to increase from about $11 million annually to as much as $23.4 million, not including facility rental or construction costs.
"When we embarked on this study, we went into it with an open mind," UALR Chancellor Andrew Rogerson said in the release. "I am grateful for the community participation by our city, faculty, staff and students which has led us to a recommendation based on research and sound data."
Athletics Director Chasse Conque said UALR remains "in a position to rally our campus community and city."
"While football may not be in our immediate future, we look forward to the continued growth of our 15 sports programs," he said in the release.
Read more in Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.