Speaking of more residential facilities at UALR (see below post), one prominent Little Rock business leader is reported to have said: “Little Rock needs a full-fledged university. And in this part of the country, you’re not viewed by most of the public as a full-fledged university unless you have students living in dorms and a football team.”
UALR has students living in dorms these days, and it appears those numbers will be growing.
So what about that football team?
Consider the fact that UALR is in a conference — the Sun Belt Conference — with nine schools already playing football at the NCAA Division I level. Those schools are Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Troy and Western Kentucky. The conference champion earns a berth in the New Orleans Bowl.
Consider the fact that War Memorial Stadium, which has seen vast improvements under the dynamic leadership of commission chairman Gary Smith in recent years, is looking to put more games in the stadium. A UALR football program would add at least five games a fall to a mix that now includes two University of Arkansas games, the Delta Literacy Classic between UAPB and one of its SWAC opponents, Little Rock Catholic High School home games, the state high school championships, the Salt Bowl between Benton and Bryant high schools and several other high school games.
A bowl game might also be in the works. We’ll have more on that at a later date.
Consider the fact that even more improvements are on the way at the stadium with the construction of a modern press box scheduled to begin at the end of this season.
Consider the fact that with Razorback tickets harder to obtain and more expensive than ever, some marketing experts think there’s a market for other types of college games in the state’s largest metropolitan area.
Consider the increased coverage of Sun Belt games on the ESPN family of networks and the higher profile that a football team would give a university whose campus is removed from the business, commercial and governmental heart of Little Rock.
Consider the fact that some wealthy Little Rock residents have been alienated from the Fayetteville campus ever since the decision to go from three Razorback games each year in Little Rock to just two.
Consider the crowds that a conference match between UALR and ASU would draw.
Consider the crowds that a non-conference game between UALR and UCA would draw.
Consider the fact that UALR’s Chris Peterson, one of the nation’s most talented athletic directors, is an old football guy. Peterson, the son of a hall of fame college coach and athletic director, was an All-American quarterback coming out of high school in Huron, S.D. He played college football at Kansas State and Wisconsin-Milwaukee before signing a free agent contract with the St. Louis Cardinals of the NFL. He was a football coach on the college level for seven years. At Eastern Illinois, he coached current New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton.
Consider the fact that since coming to UALR, Peterson has been able to secure gifts of $1.6 million for the school’s baseball facility and $22.4 million for a new basketball arena. You don’t think he can raise private money to start a football program in a football-crazed state such as Arkansas?
It’s certain that nothing will happen until the economy turns around. But once that day comes — and who knows when that will be — Trojan football makes a lot of sense.
What do you think? Would you support a UALR football program?
Absolutely! There’s enough loyalty in Arkansas sports fans to go around, UALR’s basketball program has proven this. Would be nice to see War Memorial get more use than Catholic home games and the two Razorback games we get every year.
In 2013 the Sun Belt goes to 10 football members. South Alabama is currently adding the sport.
Go for it, UALR. You can never have enough college football around.
This brings back memories of the Ouachita Tigers playing what was then known as Coach Jimmy Karam’s Little Rock Junior College football team in the Shrine Bowl of 1949. The Tigers were ahead 20-0 in nothing flat before being outscored by the Trojans who went on to win the Little Rose Bowl. Husband Ike Sharp recalls playing that game in War Memorial Stadium as though it happened last week!
ADDENDUM – I neglected giving accolades for your new blogspot — I love it! Almost as entertaining as listening to The Voice of the Tigers in person. Give our regards to your parents. We miss them in Arkadelphia.
Ah will NEVAH allow this abomination so long as U-All LR is paht of the UofA Systum.
If it gets the Hogs out of having to play in Little Rock, BRING ON TROJAN FOOTBALL!!
Are there any groups out there who are doing anything to get UALR football started?
Ive been trying to raise theese questions for four years now. It would be wonderful for the city and the university. It’s tough to raise funds, but given the right leadership and effective planning commitees, this could be a great thing. If it does happen, I would put myself as a candidate for the coaching job.
Wow… collage football in little rock…hum?? first we would have to get the people interested in the university in little rock. It does seem to be a chore to get 50 people to come see a basketball game. My idea would be to change the mascot to something that the people could relate to and feel an ownership of to get the student programs to blast off. Just an idea.
Totally for it!
And I agree with the mascot change comment.
I’m late on responding on this, but as you can tell just by my finding this, that I totally agree that UALR should have a football team. The only college in the largest city in Arkansas with a football team is Arkansas Baptist College, thanks to Dr. Fitz Hill. Every metropolis should at least have a regular college football game to attend when there isn’t an NFL in town. UALR was my first choice college back in the day before I was told that they didn’t have dorms. I had no idea there wasn’t a football team. I would like for my son to attend UALR for their engineering program, but he loves the marching band; no football – no marching band. Just one more reason to start a football team at UALR……
YES UALR Class of 1991.
I know this is a post of like 5 years or so. So far, UALR still does not YET field a football team, even though the Trojans are in a D-I FBS conference like the Sun Belt. And from what I heard is that the school isn’t have any plans to make that a reality yet whatsoever. However, I do agree that someday in the future (like within 5-10 years) that UALR football should be re-instated for the following reasons: One of them is their outdoor facility in the War Memorial Stadium (where the Arkansas Razorbacks use as its alternate home; which in my opinion, they should be comfortable using their own home stadium in Fayetteville), and the other is that Little Rock is a great city that doesn’t field an NFL team. Right now, as of the 2014-15 season, the Sun Belt Conference has like 11 all-sports members, of which 9 of them sponsor football, with only UALR and UTA without a football team (only Idaho & New Mexico St. as the football-affiliated replacements to offset). In a few years when conference realignment might occur again, some of the currently high-talented football schools might be in target to move up into other conferences, leaving the SBC in danger to sponsor the sport (just like what had happened to the WAC in 2011 or 2012). I think that both UALR & UTA should re-instate football, followed by New Mexico St. to go for full membership in the Sun Belt (you know, all-sports), and find an additional school from the East side of the conference’s footprint that’s from the FCS who’s willing to develop and upgrade to the FBS. Your thoughts guys?
i think they deserve a football program everyone in the sun belt has one but Texas Arlington & it would help them benefit them from moving from a different conference and would save themselves with instate rival Arkansas St should they happen to play them i sure hope you have NCAAmoney to pay the NCAA organization nevertheless i think you ought to start one up big time to help you benefit your program.