Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Why is this such a big deal? It's simple.
These schools never play each other!
Due to a policy instituted by former Arkansas athletic director John Barnhill, the University of Arkansas will not play any in-state university in the state of Arkansas. The policy is still in place today under current athletic director Frank Broyles.
There are four Division 1-A schools in the state of Arkansas:
Arkansas, Arkansas State, Arkansas-Little Rock (UALR), and Arkansas-Pine Bluff (UAPB)
In the states that feature more than 1 Division 1-A school, the in-state schools in those states play each other. LSU and Ohio State used to have the same policy that Arkansas did. But recently, LSU and Ohio State have played in-state schools in Louisiana and Ohio, respectively.
There's no reason why Arkansas and Arkansas State shouldn't play each other. Arkansas fans have claimed that it's a no-win situation to play Arkansas State. Yeah, like a bunch of Razorbacks fans are going to jump ship if they lose to Arkansas State. Right.
I've been in this state long enough to know who's "the #1 school". Obviously, it's Arkansas. At least in terms of media coverage and athletic prowess. But it's silly for anyone to dismiss the other schools in the state of Arkansas. Heck, I'm transferring to Arkansas State in the fall. I guess that means I wasn't hypnotized by the countless Hog calls I've heard since I've been here.
When Arkansas and Arkansas State played last night, the majority of the revenue (85%) went to the NIT. It seems to me that the two schools should play each other during the non-conference season so that the host schools could make more money off the game. The communities of Fayetteville (Univ. of Arkansas) and Jonesboro (Arkansas State Univ.) would benefit greatly from the fans that would pour into town.
More importantly, I hope this is just a start for next season. The Convocation Center in Jonesboro was packed last night for a women's basketball game. Hopefully I'll be part of more sellouts or near-sellouts when I'm up there next season. I'm not holding my breath, though.
Now, I'm not like some Arkansas State fans who just flat out hate the Razorbacks. I just want to see this state become like other states. You know, with the in-state schools actually playing each other! To me, that makes more sense than the biggest in-state school playing Louisiana-Monroe.
For more on last night's Arkansas-Arkansas State game, check out the following reports from The Jonesboro Sun.
ASU broils Lady 'Backs
Arkansas State fans hit a nerve with (Susie) Gardner
See, the world didn't come to an end last night