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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Legislature has bigger issues than high school football

by Wally Hall | January 15, 2021 at 4:59 p.m.

We are living under a warning of possible violent demonstrations for the next five to seven days.

We are living in a pandemic that has killed far too many, kicked our economy in the knee and people are having trouble getting the vaccine.

Yet, a handful of elected Arkansas officials are worried about scheduling high school football games.

Rep. Jim Wooten, R-Beebe, has proposed HB1097. The bill would force the Arkansas Activities Association to separate private schools from public schools and not allow them to participate against each other in athletics.

Wooten used to be on the Beebe football staff, and the field carries his family name. He's probably like most fans of teams who have to play Pulaski Academy — tired of losing.

In his case, by double digits the last few years.

Private schools already play in a classification larger because their enrollment is multiplied by 1.5 to determine what classification they participate in.

Private schools are heavily scrutinized, and any suspected recruiting is thoroughly investigated by the Arkansas Activities Association.

For the sake of full transparency, my daughter graduated from Pulaski Academy, but she hasn’t stepped foot back on the campus in 18 years. The last time I was on campus was to watch her perform as part of the dance team.

She went there for the academics.

Over the last 40 or so years, the conversation has come up many times about the Legislature forcing the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville to play Arkansas State in football.

Every time it is explained: The Legislature has much bigger fish to fry.

It's true on the college level, and it's true on the high school level.

I can certainly appreciate Mr. Wooten’s frustrations, but there’s a lot of things going on that need his attention more than scheduling football games.

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