The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is exploring the possibility of starting a football team. The NCAA Division I school, which holds KUAR’s license, announced Wednesday it plans to hire an outside firm to complete a feasibility study. A student petition recently gathered about a thousand signatures in support of a football team. Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola and State Parks and Tourism Director Kane Webb have also expressed support.
UA Little Rock Athletic Director Chasse Conque says the Student Government Association also pushed for the sport at the school, whose mascot is the Trojans.
“At this point, everything is really emotional. We don’t have any hard data,” Conque says. “We don’t have the numbers. And so we’re really excited about the study to be able to give us that data and be able to really dig into what would it take to have a football program and a marching band here.”
In a press release, UA Little Rock Chancellor Andrew Rogerson says he too hopes the feasibility study would be data-driven.
“As a scientist, I have a high regard for data, so conducting an objective study seems like the right approach to determine if a football program and marching band would be a wise and meaningful addition to the university and our community,” Rogerson says.
Conque says the study will be paid for equally by the university, the city of Little Rock and the state Department of Parks and Tourism. He could not say how much the study would cost, but said the university’s portion of the funding would come from private donors.
Conque says the study will likely look at several areas.
“Certainly the financial piece is probably the biggest part of it,” he says. “But in [the study], they’ll dig into facility needs; what’s our current situation within our department as we compete as a Division I, Triple A institution. They’ll assess what our staffing looks like today, what we would need in order to support another 200 student athletes within our department.”
Conque says a request for proposals from possible consulting firms will likely go out this fall, with an expected study completion date next spring; likely in April 2018.
Read more about the announcement here.