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