The Red Wolves and the Great Stadium Debate

Jeff Reed Author Page

Just for the heck of it, I figure I would weigh in on the great stadium debate about War Memorial Stadium.

And for now, I just don’t think the Arkansas State Red Wolves should be playing game there.

Threw you a curve ball huh? We old lefties are like that.

While the school in Fayetteville considers moving all of its games to its campus, sending a good portion of its fan base in central Arkansas and points far away from the northwest corner in a tizzy, and whether or not it happens and fractions a share of the University of Arkansas fan base  is not the story here.

In a way, there is a similar tug of war in the A-State Nation – a Red Wolves version of The Great Stadium Debate.

Some feel all games should be played on campus in Jonesboro, while others see central Arkansas as an opportunity to expand the fan base.

You do see some weakening of the anti-War Memorial crowd as long as Jonesboro gets its six home games. For years, and most of them were lean, there were as few as three or four homes games. Four to five seemed the norm.

For a while, this year’s game with Arkansas-Pine Bluff was scheduled for War Memorial Stadium, but that moved back to campus, again giving ASU six home games.

Athletic Director Terry Mohajir said the game was rescheduled for Jonesboro because it was Bryan Harsin’s first game and he did not want the new coach to start away from Liberty Bank Stadium. It was pointed out that while it would be ASU’s home game, the Red Wolves would still be spending the night in  hotel away from home and have to travel to the contest.

ASU last played in Little Rock in 2006 against Oklahoma State. Although a modern-day Cowboys vs. Indians saga, the game drew just a little more  20,000, or about what ASU usually drew at War Memorial.

When the Gus (Malzahn) Bus was in town, Little Rock was a target area for the former coach, feeling it was vital for the growth of the program. While it is still on the future plan, along with developing support along the 67/167 corridor, it is not as high a priority.

Mohajir said all of the Red Wolves’ marquee games will be in Jonesboro (note: future games with Mizzou and Miami). He feels there is no need to attract such foes with a bigger stadium.

So for now, Little Rock and the Great Stadium Debate is on the back burner for Red Wolves’ football fans.

And that is where it should be.

Jeff Reed is editor of Astatenation.com

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  • Drew F.

    War Memorial charges the Razorbacks a pretty significant amount of rent to play there, and keeps the concessions revenue. Based on ASU’s budget situation, I’d imagine that’s the biggest reason why they won’t play there on a regular basis,

    • stAte

      The reason is no different than it is for the hogs. Why give up revenue and make your team travel to a “home” game when you can keep the cash and entertain a bigger crowd, not to mention having recruits on campus? Our “budget situation” is better than ever and has allowed us to finally start paying to hire quality coaches and to only schedule one guarantee game a year (ULM plays 3 SEC road games next year in contrast).

      • Drew F.

        “Better than ever” does not equal “good,” especially considering how much ASU’s athletic dept. still needs to take in as a subsidy just to break even. It’ll be interesting to see if that number climbs in the coming years to offset the loss of payout revenue.

      • stAte

        Good enough to pay their coaches more than their peers and good enough to not schedule multiple paycheck games. ASU takes the same subsidy that the other schools in AR take and they take less in student fees than their peers or several AR programs. So, yeah…

    • Kay’s Field Touchdown

      Drew, has the University of Arkansas not taken and spent millions of tax payer dollars? Was Razorback stadium not originally built with taxpayer funds? Does the stadium set on public land?

      Until the U of A pays back every dollar (plus interest) of tax payer money it ever spent. It is still subsidized by tax payers like me, just like ASU.

  • A-State Fan Rules

    Good points, JR. I’m in the camp for a WMS game, but keeping all games in Jonesboro has its merits. Thanks for the perspective.

    • Barry

      Let’s expand the stadium in Jonesboro and play big schools there. Ga Redwolf.

      • stAte

        I don’t expect expansion yet but the seat prices have changed and the new seating in conjunction with the practice facility will be premium seating that will increase revenue.

  • Das Wolf

    Drew obviously doesn’t read the balance sheets much…ASU spends what it brings in and just like hundreds of other schools they have an athletic fee

    I think they ought to try another run at WMS just to see what the response would be…lot has changed since 2006…wouldn’t mind a LA Tech game or some mid-tier regional foe like MSST, Tex Tech, Indiana or the like

  • Drew F.

    The latest USA Today indicates that nearly 60% of ASU’s budget is subsidized in the form of school funds ($5.5 million) and student fees ($3.5 million). That’s per year. In fact, the student fees revenue is more than ticket sales, donor contributions, and licensing rights combined.

    ASU certainly does spend what it brings in. And then it spends about $9 million more and has to have the siphon money away from the university in order to cover it. Again, that’s per year.

    Is that the balance sheets you were talking about?

    • Barry

      Drew, Get a life and go bother somebody else, you nerd terd idiot! GaRedwolf

    • stAte

      That is not true. USA Today was way off this year.

      • Drew F.

        The data was self-reported by ASU; USA Today compiled and analyzed it. Are you saying ASU is lying about their finances? That’s a pretty serious change, and perhaps something that th legislature needs to investigate.

  • http://yahoo Rik Flair

    Drew, It sounds like you are a Hog fan taking a shot at stAte. Do you feel better now? Yes, stAte doesn’t have the $$ that UAF has and probably never will. Why is that? Maybe because for the last 100 years the state has poured a disproportionate amount of tax dollars into the UAF system to the detriment of all the other 4 year colleges. It’s probably the same in other states, but feel free to jump down off your high horse.

    It’s like the kid with the silver spoon in his mouth who inherited his families fortune 500 business thinking he is better that the kid who is working hard to make his own way.

    • Barry

      ‘Right on’ Rik, Redwolves are making it on their on. People like Drew can make me laugh when hogs lose. This year I’ll be laughing a lot too. Get a life Drew boy!! GaRedwolf