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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Ohio Valley Conference fixes issues for UALR

by Wally Hall | December 9, 2021 at 2:52 a.m.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has landed on its feet with its move to the Ohio Valley Conference.

Within a week of the announcement Texas and Oklahoma were jumping to the SEC, college realignment began and so did the rumors schools like UALR that doesn't have a football program might be left out of conferences where the emphasis is on football.

Apparently, UALR Athletic Director George Lee immediately went to work looking for a new home for the Trojans since his team and Texas-Arlington are the only non-football playing schools in the Sun Belt Conference.

Murray State (7-1) is the current pride of the Ohio Valley and the Racers' starting point guard is Justice Hill from Little Rock.

. . .

ESPN was turned on at 11 a.m. to hear about the College Football Playoffs and the other 39 bowl games.

Might as well have gone back to bed.

For hours ESPN announcers droned on and on about the Final Four teams in the playoffs. But around noon it had become pretty certain Arkansas was going to be playing Penn State in the Outback Bowl and the news didn't come from the most powerful entity in sports.

Brett McMurphy, of Stadium College Football Insider, changed his bowl predictions as he had been tipped off to the Arkansas-Penn State game.

McMurphy has as many sports sources as anyone in the country.

ESPN missed it, but then the company that airs the majority of bowl games didn't seem very interested in giving any timely information on the other bowls.

What will it be like when the playoffs are expanded to 12 teams? It might be the beginning of the end of bowls, as many fear.

Of course, with 41 bowls, plus a championship game, there are too many bowls.

The first two bowls are a week from Friday.

Still, if there was a 12-team playoff this year, Alabama, Michigan, Cincinnati and Georgia would have had first-round byes.

The first round games would have been: Notre Dame vs. Pitt, Ohio State vs. Utah, Baylor vs. Michigan State and Ole Miss vs. Oklahoma State.

Those would be some pretty good games, and interest in bowls like the Cure and Bahamas bowls might slip even more.

One thing that could help the bowls who aren't part of the playoffs is for ESPN to show them a little respect.

. . .

When the transfer portal was approved, it was meant for players to find a school where they fit better and where they had a better chance to play.

For instance, last year Little Rock's Ren Hefley left Michigan where he was third team to become the starter for Presbyterian College.

It wasn't meant for guys like LSU quarterback Max Johnson to escape a new coach. Incidentally, Johnson's brother Jake, the No. 1 tight end recruit in the the country, decommitted from the Tigers.

What the transfer portal should be called is free agency, because that's all it is.

What happens to Hefley now that Presbyterian Coach Kevin Kelley has said he'll pursue other coaching opportunities after just one season with the Blue Hose is anyone's guess. But he's a great young man who deserves the best.

. . .

The Name Image Likeness rule is going to change college football once and for all.

It was announced this week, a nonprofit organization named "The Pancake Factory" is going to pay $50,000 per year to every scholarship offensive lineman -- up to 16 players -- at the University of Texas.

The nonprofit's theory is the exposure will help them raise even more money for its organization.

What it means is players are finally getting paid publicly, and the race is on to buy college franchises.

Print Headline: Ohio Valley Conference fixes issues for UALR


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