When the discussion comes up about whether the Arkansas and Texas A&M game should be changed to a home-and-home series, tons of issues are implicated. Like Arkansas’ Great Stadium Debate, money is at the forefront of whether the Hogs and Aggies should continue playing in Razorback Stadium West, and recruiting is discussed in the same breath. However, there’s something else that needs serious consideration.
The easy money issues to see are the loss of Razorback Stadium revenue and added costs for Arkansas boosters. Harder to quantify outside the Razorback Foundation books are the amount of donations received from Arkansas boosters in Texas and the Dallas area in particular. We do know that (and give a shout out to them), Hog fans in Texas are just a rabid and loyal as those back home. Revealing a little more than we usually do about Hog Database, stats from different services tell us that as many as 25% of our readers come from the Dallas area. Those fans want Razorback information that they aren’t getting in the Dallas Morning News. It would be interesting to see how much donations have increased from the Dallas area (or whether they have) since the beginning of the Southwest Classic. But, there is no question that the game satisfies one of the University of Arkansas’ large contingent of fans who love the Hogs.
Recruiting is one of the great issues. We’ll hear of the hundreds of the Division I players coming out of Texas and how it’s a fertile recruiting ground. However, the issue isn’t only exposure, playing in the area so family can go to a local game is part of the recruiting package as Coach Petrino indirectly alludes to in his pre-game comments:
It will be a fun week. I’m looking forward to it. We always enjoy going to Dallas. It’s a great venue for our players and their families and all of our recruits from Texas, and certainly looking forward to getting up early and playing an early game on Saturday.
Coach Petrino does briefly comment specifically on moving the game from Dallas later in the press conference, but he really would love to focus on football and not administration right now.
But watching the following video, one cannot help but think that in addition to all of the other reasons why we should or shouldn’t continue to play in Dallas and that the things in this video really need a place at the discussion table:
Cowboy Stadium may very well be the finest sports venue in the world. While Jerry Jones and his family own the Cowboys organization, they don’t pretend to own the Arkansas Razorbacks and to a large degree walk as fans and boosters with us, albeit in very much a leadership role. When Jerry Jones talks about the Razorbacks, he does so with sincerity and with a sense of absence, like the other Razorback Fans in the Dallas area. The jaded parts of us all say that he’s a business man and that he wouldn’t do it unless he could make a buck. Like the Razorback Foundation accounting, we won’t know how true or not that really is or how much he turns around and funnels back to the Razorback Foundation in contributions. Jerry Jones was a Razorback long before he was wealthy. He’s built the finest home in the world and essentially said, “My home is your home.” If something is needed to tip the scales after all else is considered, offers to any of us which sincerely extend the world’s finest of anything are rare. We would all lose by failing to accept the invitation.