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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Fourth of July a sign football's not far off

by Wally Hall | July 4, 2021 at 2:21 a.m.

The Fourth of July stands for many great things.

It marks America's freedom, the Declaration of Independence and has become a national holiday generally celebrated with family cookouts and fireworks.

In the world of perspiring arts, it means the dog days of summer are in full rage, but two weeks from today the journey to Birmingham, Ala., will be made and there will be football news on a daily basis in your newspaper until the NCAA champion is crowned in January.

Still, the next two weeks are tough on sports fans and sportswriters alike. Sure, there is baseball, and the NBA is entering its final stage of another season, but over the past few decades football has become America's favorite sport.

We've had some news happen this summer, including a big shakeup in Fayetteville.

Just exactly how chancellor Joe Steinmetz's departure will affect the Arkansas Razorbacks remains to be seen, but we can rest assured he'll have nothing to say about another hire at the university.

The final details of Steinmetz's departure were made public in Saturday's Democrat-Gazette, and he'll get $175,000 paid over a set number of months.

He won't be getting a teaching job at the UA as his contract called for originally.

The settlement has been signed by him and UA System President Donald Bobbitt.

The role of chancellor at every college and university became more important with the Supreme Court's recent decision that student-athletes should be paid. The NCAA also signed off on players being compensated for use of name, image or likeness.

Every school will need the support of its entire administration from top to bottom to get through these early days of confusing change.

The UA quickly and wisely made the decision that student-athletes could not be endorsed by companies already under contract with the school.

Razorbacks wide receiver Trey Knox became one of the first college athletes to sign a deal, and his is with PetSmart. It seems like Knox is a dog lover, and this is a natural fit for him and the company.

On a worldwide scale, Wimbledon is in progress and on the TV almost every day.

The Tour de France is going on.

The Running of the Bulls and the festival of San Fermin begin Tuesday, although it isn't a great spectator sport. Not a great participation sport, either.

It has been 35 years since your trusty correspondent marked that off a bucket list with a permanent marker.

Once was enough.

What the news clips don't show you are the people on balconies spraying water to make the cobblestones much more slippery than necessary. And near the end of the race, there are no friends on that course, just people trying to survive.

The year your trusty scribe made the run, arrival was on the Fourth of July. It was very lonely to be in Spain away from friends and family.

That night, the cries up and down the street were "Ole" as people watched the bullfights on TV.

Since then, a few Fourths of July have been spent away from home to capitalize on the holiday, but mostly they are spent with family.

This Fourth of July means the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train but the early stages of a new football season when Alabama will be great. Arkansas has a tough football schedule that opens with Rice on Sept. 4 and is followed by Texas a week later.

Feels like this scribe should be getting ready for the Southwest Conference tour instead of SEC Football Media Days.

Print Headline: Fourth of July a sign football's not far off

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