Arkansas Razorbacks fans, the school doesn’t care about you
Arkansas football rules the world of Razorbacks sports. So, with your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast and get caught up. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas … especially Arkansas football. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points! There is no place like it on the web.
The people at Arkansas still think it’s 1964. In so many ways.
Because, however, this is a sports site, probably let’s stick to the sports ties, eh (though, you bet your bottom dollar I’d love to go in on the other ways — alas)?
The University of Arkansas announced Thursday morning it was extending its agreement with War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. Arkansas and Missouri will play a football game at the stadium in the state’s capital every other year through 2024.
Is anyone shocked? Shouldn’t be.
Big, powerful people made a decision not in the best interest of the masses, but in the best interest of their friends. They didn’t even make a decision in the best interest of the independence of the football program. Mark from McCrory, Rhonda from Rison, they aren’t the reason games stay in Little Rock, although the press conference Thursday morning tried to convince otherwise. No, the folks in their camouflage getups who dot the nosebleed seats of WMS have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the continuation of games in the capital.
Instead, Arkansas football is tied to dozens of corporate and independently wealthy donors who are almost wholly disconnected from the average Razorbacks fan. Their collective threat to stop pouring money into the Razorback Foundation is impetus enough to keep up an otherwise objectively stupid financial and competitive disadvantage.
Imagine that, Arkansas football a bourgeois activity.
Since the dawn of time, really, though. Like the Romans and their coliseums, the high and mighty in their ivory towers, making decisions everyone else — including the participants — simply have to accept. Arkansas football players are no different. They don’t want to play in Little Rock, mostly. They also don’t matter. Players wield no power because of their amateur status. Pawns, easily replaceable, especially on a 4-8 team. Why else do you think so many of those in power are against paying the players?
Instead, we — and I do mean “we,” because the media has to cover the games — get the games three hours from campus. As if playing in Little Rock truly bonded that area of the state to the Razorbacks. You know as well as I do Arkansas fans aren’t forsaking their beloved Hogs for another team out of spite. Irrelevant that it actually harms the football team. The blind don’t see anything, much less that. Besides, there is money to be made in keeping the people angry and hungry.
Oh, and best believe the move harms the football team. In odd-numbered years, Arkansas would get exactly two of its eight league games in its home stadium. Texas A&M is in Arlington, Texas, and Missouri is in Little Rock. One-fourth of the most significant games on a team’s schedule will be played at “home.” Tell me how that’s good for a team’s chances of winning a maximum number of games.
The powers that be at Arkansas care not for you, average fan. Those people — yes, those people — are fully aware they don’t “need” Little Rock anymore. This isn’t the 1960s, despite common wishing among that crowd it was. They are ambivalent about the football team, except as a vessel to ensure their continued power and/or wealth. This has been borne out over, at least, the last six months. From the moment Jeff Long was fired as athletic director up to this very moment, Arkansas athletics and/or the people associated with it, tangentially and otherwise, has been an absolute clown show.
Unfortunately, dear reader, I can present no alternative, save one you will not find appealing.
Turn it off. Abandon ship. Start rooting for human beings instead of logos. Don’t let cardinal and red guide. Arkansas can do wrong and has. The rest of the country, those who think the state of Arkansas is just a bunch of backward hillbillies, they have reason to justify those beliefs after Thursday.
Arkansas, stuck in the past.
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- These are the five most important recruits for the Class of 2019. Bet they will love playing in Little Rock. Not really. Bet they will be told to say they do, though.
- Arkansas baseball should have locked up a top 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament after its Thursday night win against Georgia. Still two games left against the Bulldogs, but it was a heck of a start.
- Arkansas and Oklahoma should play in football. They won’t. But they should.
- Speaking of Arkansas hosting and OU, SEC Country’s latest projection has the Diamond Hogs with the Sooners, Missouri State and Yale in the Fayetteville Regional.
Tweets and the like
• What does this quote have to do with the announcement, Joe?
— Arkansas Razorbacks (@ArkRazorbacks) May 17, 2018
• He is the greatest football player in the history of Arkansas, folks.
— Razorback Football (@RazorbackFB) May 17, 2018