Little Rock football feasibility committee recommends ‘not now’

Staff Writer

The committee appointed to review the findings of a football feasibility study for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has recommended that the university hold off on establishing a football program at this time.

The committee made its recommendation in a memorandum sent to UA Little Rock Chancellor Andrew Rogerson today following an 18-month football feasibility study and review process.

“While a football program could be a positive addition to the university and the city, by unanimous opinion our group recommends that now is not the right time to start a football program,” the memo stated.

The committee cited two reasons in the memo:

“The establishment of a football program must be a part of the university’s strategic master plan, with clear goals and a commitment and data-informed strategy for long-term sustainable funding model and infrastructure.”
“At this time, the university should continue to focus on raising the quality and investment in its current 15 intercollegiate athletic programs, including the new wrestling program beginning this fall.

The football working group, appointed by Chancellor Rogerson, included representatives from the UA Little Rock Board of Visitors, Trojan Advisory Council, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Little Rock Mayor’s Office, and UA Little Rock faculty and staff.

Their task was to interpret the results and determine the best course of action based on a football and marching band joint venture study conducted by Convention Sports & Leisure (CSL), CarrSports Consulting LLC, Heery Sports and the Grant Group.

The study, announced in summer 2017, was sponsored by the university, the Little Rock Mayor’s Office, and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. CSL prepared a comprehensive analysis based on interviews and consultations with a wide variety of different stakeholders throughout the university and central Arkansas community over a nine-month period.

“I want to thank the football working group for their hard work and due diligence over the past six months,” Rogerson said. “When we embarked on this study, we went into it with an open mind. I am grateful for the community participation by our city, faculty, staff and students which has led us to a recommendation based on research and sound data. I am excited about the future of athletics at UA Little Rock and what Division I athletics means to the capital city and our campus community.”

The recommendations are an endorsement of an institution effectiveness process the university is currently undergoing to become a stronger and more effective urban university that meets the needs of central Arkansas, Rogerson said.

“This has been a beneficial process, regardless the outcome, that has made and will continue to make Little Rock athletics stronger and better positioned to compete at the highest level,” said Little Rock Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Chasse Conque. “A study of this magnitude involves a lot of folks, and I’m grateful for the interest in Trojan Athletics. While football may not be in our immediate future, we look forward to the continued growth of our 15 sports programs. I strongly believe Trojan Athletics is in a position to rally our campus community and city, and I am confident our best days are still ahead.”

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