The University of Arkansas at Little Rock will not be bringing its football program back anytime soon.
A university committee composed of representatives from the UALR Board of Visitors, the state Parks and Tourism Department, the Little Rock mayor’s office, UALR faculty and staff, and the Trojan Advisory Council, has recommeneded that the school should not restart the program.
In a university news release, the committee wrote, “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 committee cited two reasons for the decision – one being that the program was not part of the university’s “strategic master plan” and the other being that the university should “focus on raising the quality and investment” in its current sports programs.
The committee was formed in 2017 to determine the viability of reviving the football program. The committee reviewed and interpreted the findings of a feasibility study conducted by consulting firm Conventions, Sports and Leisure (CLS), CarrSports Consulting LLC., Heery Sports and the Grant Group. According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the study found that the university would have to increase the athletic program’s budget from roughly $11 million to over $23 million annually, in additional to rental or construction costs for a facility, to support the football program.
In the press release, UALR Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Chasse Conque said the university will continue to grow and improve its athletics program in the wake the committee’s recommendation.
“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 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.”
Image courtesy of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock