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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Changes reshaping college athletics forever

by Wally Hall | June 17, 2021 at 2:20 a.m.

The world of college sports is changing.

There's the transfer portal, which is getting more traffic than Los Angeles.

Conferences are waiting on Congress to make a law that allows student-athletes to be paid for using their likeness.

It is hard to wrap one's head around what all that might mean.

It definitely means the Power 5 schools will separate themselves even more from the mid-majors.

Can you imagine what a Texas A&M fan might pay a 5-star player for his likeness? Probably double what a Texas fan would.

There is talk of the Power 5 schools breaking away from the NCAA in football and forming their own -- for lack of a more fitting word -- corporation.

Now there is talk about expanding the College Football Playoff from four teams to 12.

No one is saying it, but it is all about generating more TV revenue.

Expansion seems like a good idea, but 12 teams seem a bit much. For one thing, the top four teams would get a first-round bye and the other eight would slug it out on the opening weekend.

It is a long way from being a done deal, but it is coming and probably has been since the first playoff.

Going from three playoff games to 11 will mean billions of dollars, and when Congress finally does make a law, the athletes will finally benefit, too.

Personally, it seems like eight teams would be ideal with a rule that no conference could have more than two teams competing.

There are a lot of changes going on in college athletics, and most of them signal progress.

* * *

All over the great state of Arkansas there are official and unofficial Razorback clubs.

It seems they mostly consist of good, hardworking, faithful fans who love to talk Arkansas Razorbacks.

One lunch-bunch group that is totally unofficial meets every Thursday, and Richard Turbeville -- an attorney whose love for the Hogs dated back to his youth -- usually was the first to arrive.

The group is not limited to Razorback fans, as one member is an Ole Miss grad who is also an attorney. The talks vary by season, but there's always talk of football.

It is a really good group of guys.

Most of us believed Richard was the smartest guy in the room, but he never acted like it. He usually asked questions and only gave an opinion when asked directly.

Covid-19 stopped the lunches for more than a year, so most of us didn't know Richard wasn't doing well. He also never complained.

He was one of those guys that the glass was always half full and more was on the way.

Richard was friends with several media guys. In fact, his brother Kevin is a journalist in Jonesboro and brother Robert used to work with me.

All of them are quick-witted and insightful.

Richard's favorite subject might have been Razorback recruiting, and often we were surprised at how much information he had about who was and wasn't making an official visit to the UA.

Once he was asked an estimate of how many miles he had driven to watch the Hogs. He just grinned and said, "I really don't want to know, but every one of them was worth it whether we won or lost."

It is doubtful Richard had an enemy in the world. Maybe some opposing lawyers weren't crazy about him, but they respected him.

We all did. Richard was easy to respect.

So there was much sadness when we found out Monday that Richard had passed away.

He was only 66, and his family requests donations be made to the American Heart Association in lieu of flowers.

Richard Turbeville, born and raised in White Hall, will be missed by all those who knew him.

Print Headline: Changes reshaping college athletics forever


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