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story.lead_photo.caption This screenshot shows part of the cover of a UALR football feasibility study.

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.

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Comments

  • RBear
    February 6, 2019 at 11:34 a.m.

    Good conclusion from the committee. At this time, the school needs to continue focus on the current program and not overextend itself. At a LR Trojans game prior to Christmas, I talked with some student-athletes who were sitting next to me. One was from the San Antonio area and saw the challenges UTSA went through to get to a football program. Another was from the Jonesboro area and familiar with the A-State program.
    ...
    While they all would love a Trojan football program, they also saw how much of a drain it would put on the athletic department and their own programs. In other words, it would be too much to take on now. I like the idea of fitting it into the strategic plan and take steps towards it with checkpoints. But there's no reason to pull the trigger now.

  • GeneralMac
    February 6, 2019 at 12:17 p.m.

    "how much of a drain it would put on the athletic department and their own programs"

    I thought college football was one of the few sports that was actually self sufficent and even helped finance the lessor sports.

    I do realize start up costs would be high in the beginning.

  • HenryP
    February 6, 2019 at 12:20 p.m.

    Too bad...I was thinking about season tickets....

  • Guest0987
    February 6, 2019 at 12:55 p.m.

    The northwest arkansas loserbacks don't need any more competition either. lol

  • RBBrittain
    February 6, 2019 at 2:10 p.m.

    @FakeGeneral: Only a few of the biggest college programs, including the Razorbacks, are truly self-supporting from their own revenue. Other schools often assess student fees or divert other funds to cover their athletic deficits; UA Little Rock already assesses a student fee for athletics (and I'm almost certain ASU does too). "Group of Five" (the five non-Power Five conferences) or "mid-major" FBS programs, such as ASU (and UA Little Rock if it had added football since it's already in the Sun Belt Conference), tend to rely more heavily on student fees than anyone else; Power Five schools are either fully self-supporting (like Arkansas) or have enough income to keep student fees relatively low, while programs below the FBS level are less expensive. If UA Little Rock had tried to launch a football program, it would have almost certainly increased student fees (and in most cases, student loan debt) for all students, including for myself at the Bowen School of Law. Adding football would have almost certainly been a boondoggle, even under the relaxed version of the Hogs' "no in-state schools" policy that now allows them to compete against other UA System campuses. (UAPB already plays a game or so per year in War Memorial; even if the Hogs still can't play the Red Wolves here, they can always play the Golden Lions.)

  • MaxCady
    February 6, 2019 at 4:34 p.m.

    Good call. They can't have the fans of this great state divided anymore than they already are. I mean look what happened when ASU played UALR in basketball four days ago!! There was rioting in the streets, people cancelling their season tickets...oh, wait, nevermind. If they ever did take up football it would only be so that UAF would never have to play ASU.

  • NoUserName
    February 6, 2019 at 6:48 p.m.

    Even a blind man could have seen this. Good thing the city of LR spent $100k (?) to help fund the study that came to an obvious conclusion.
    .
    "Only a few of the biggest college programs, including the Razorbacks, are truly self-supporting from their own revenue.'
    .
    That wasn't what he said. He said football programs. You're talking athletic departments. Title IX means a lot of that football revenue goes elsewhere. In a quick search, the only data I could find was on athletic departments.

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