LISTEN: ESPN broadcaster explains why Arkansas shouldn't play games in Little Rock anymore
The Arkansas Razorbacks lost to Ole Miss in Little Rock at War Memorial Stadium on Saturday night, falling to 1-6 on the season.
The annual game in the state capital is a point of contention in the state, though, as many don’t think it benefits the football team in any way to move a game up there.
On Monday, ESPN broadcaster Tom Hart joined the “Hit That Line” podcast and said he thinks the fact that Arkansas only has three SEC home games in Fayetteville this year is a disaster:
“I’m not going to pretend to know what went on behind the scenes,” Hart says. “I don’t know how anyone can think this is what’s best for the program. If this is what’s best for the politics, if this is what’s best for the people in the capital city, if this is what’s best to have monied people three-and-a-half hours away from campus feel like they’re part of and have influence on the football team, yeah, I could buy that. But this is not beneficial for the football program. Anyone in Little Rock who insists on playing that game there because they think it’s good for the program, they need to make some phone calls and they need to understand that they’re doing that for their own ego.
“For the short term, yeah, it might be cool to have a couple of football games there and it might be cool to have the spring game there, but in reality, that’s a neutral-site game. The lifeblood of any program is recruiting, and when you are down to two SEC home games every other year, that means you’re down to two key recruiting weekends every year. That is extremely limiting to the program and it’s unfair to the coaches, and it’s unfair to the staff and it’s unfair to the kids who maybe want to take an official visit to Arkansas.
“No, it’s not beneficial to the program and it makes very little since inside the football building to go and play that game, even if it might make sense in the halls of the capital or in the athletic director’s office.”
This year, the neutral-site game against Texas A&M was counted as an Aggie home game, but next year, the Little Rock game against Missouri means only two SEC home games will be played in Fayetteville for the Hogs.
Will things change in the future? Hart thinks they should, and we’ll see how many people in the program agree with him.