Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a past president and member of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
LIKE IT IS:
No shock central Arkansas lost Hogs game
Empty stands are visible during the Arkansas-Mississippi State game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
There was not a great outcry when War Memorial Stadium Commissioner Kevin Crass and University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long announced more than a week ago that beginning next year the Razorbacks would play only one game in Little Rock.
It seems most fans saw this coming, maybe as far back as when the game with LSU was moved to Fayetteville and replaced with a school from Mississippi.
There was probably more outcry about tradition and history over the anthracite uniforms the Hogs wore against Mississippi State than there was over losing another game in Little Rock.
It certainly has not been a great stadium debate like it was when the Razorbacks went from playing three games to two in Little Rock.
The timing seemed odd, what with the winless SEC schedule still in progress, but it appears that if not for the hard work and a willingness to compromise by Crass and the stadium commissioners the Razorbacks’ existence in central Arkansas would have been nonexistent when the contract ran out.
For the next two seasons,or the duration of the old contract, Long has agreed to pay War Memorial Stadium $400,000 to offset the losses.
Anyone who thinks the Razorbacks will play here after this contract ends in 2018 is most likely wrong.
What the UA needs to be very careful of is becoming identified as the University of Northwest Arkansas.
Being the state’s primary team had a lot to do with exposure to south and east Arkansas because of the games played in central Arkansas.
Which brings up the question: Why don’t Central Arkansas and Arkansas State immediately find a way to play each other at War Memorial Stadium on the first football weekend of the season? It might not pay immediate dividends, but in the long run it would give both schools a lot of visibility.
Yes, ASU has a contract to play five games in Liberty Bank Stadium, but with a new owner, Johnny Allison, maybe that could be renegotiated.
The first Razorbacks game your trusty scribe ever attended was at War Memorial. I was in the Air Force and had to save money for a month to buy the ticket.
For the past 33 years I’ve covered every Razorbacks game in the Grand Old Lady, and there are a ton of good memories.
So it was a little sad on a personal level that another game was moved, but Long is paid the big bucks to make decisions that are best for the UA.
If not for Crass and the other commissioners, there might not have been any games in the near future.
One is still better than none.
Canaan Sandy of the Sulphur Rock/Cave City area has been selected as one of ESPN’s top 10 sports fans in the nation.
Sandy is one of those loyal Arkansas Razorbacks fans who refuses to leave a game early or say a negative word about his team. With him, it’s always the Hogs will get them next week or next time.
He’s faced some challenges in his life, so giving up is never an option.
Anyone interested in voting for this great fan can do so at fanhalloffame.com.
If you knew his life story, you would know how much this would mean to him.
Max Mendelsohn, the phenomenal tennis player from Little Rock, just moved up to the 16-year-old classification and has already become the No. 18 player in the South and will move up nationally after finishing second in a huge tournament in Austin, Texas.
Mendelsohn has not lost to a player in Arkansas in five years.
He finished in the 14-year old division as the No. 2 player in the country.
Sports, Pages 18 on 12/05/2013