Football comes first 

If you read last week’s Arkansas Business, you found out what Arkansans care the most about — Razorback football.

The highest paid employee of the entire state is Houston Nutt, head football coach of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He has a state salary of $329,644 and other compensations of $710,000, making a yearly income of $1,039,644. Next to him, of course, are the UA basketball coach, who gets $752,343 a year, and the football defensive coordinators who receives $300,000. Eleven other coaches at Fayetteville also receive between $285,000 and $150,000.

Now I’ve never heard a convincing speech that says that athletics are the most wonderful and profitable things that can improve our state. I believe there are thousands of Arkansans who, like me, are sad when we read or hear:

• More than $1 million this year was spent to modernize and improve the grass field of the War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. The Razorbacks only play two games in the stadium every year, and if it were left to Athletic Director Frank Broyles (salary $286,280) there would be no Razorback games in Little Rock. Among other expenses, the stadium’s scoreboard has been extended 20 feet on both ends, and a video screen 22 feet high and 50 feet long has been installed.

• Last year the youngsters in 274 of the schools in Arkansas failed to meet the state’s minimum performance levels.

• 194 of the state’s 245 school districts have said they had shortages of special education teachers in math and science. For example, North Little Rock is searching for six more teachers. Why? Even though their pay has recently been increased, we still don’t pay teachers enough. Many Arkansas students finishing their college study of teaching quickly go to other states because many of them pay more than Arkansas. Furthermore, Richard Ingersoll, an education professor at the University of Pennsylvania, made a study that shows that after five years of teaching, many young teachers everywhere are leaving the profession.

• The old stadium in Fayetteville was recently rebuilt to become the Donald W. Reynolds Razorback stadium. When I was a student up there in the late 1940s, we thought the stadium was pretty good. Also, the Razorbacks then were winning some great games up there. The rebuilding cost $110 million. Its new video screen is 31 feet high and 107 feet long. Today if you want to sit in one of the new Sky Boxes, you pay $75,000 and then pay $35 per ticket for every person who sits there at every game .For just plain stadium seats, you have to pay $200 a year, plus $35 for each game.

• The national SAT test is the most valued for high school graduates to see what they have learned. And it’s true that Arkansans who took the SAT this year scored well. But only 5 percent of the Arkansas graduates took the test.

• Last year an average of 65 percent of college football players throughout the nation graduated from their college. Last year 55 percent of the University of Arkansas players graduated, the most of any other year.

• People who live in very small towns fight our efficient Education Commissioner Ken James, who wants to close unapproved schools and have their students ride buses to the closest town that has certified schools. Courts have upheld him, but Asa Hutchinson says he wouldn’t allow such a thing it if he were elected governor. Yet, in July the U.S. Department of Education warned Arkansas that more than half of the state’s 450,000 public school students are missing fundamental studies.

The good news I’ve read lately is that the legislature has put more money into education — not just building buildings but raising salaries of teachers and starting preschools for 3- and 4-year-old kids from poor families, an idea first suggested by the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.

I guess the worst news I have recently read is that many high schools have now decided to teach kids how to wrestle and hold tournaments, an idea suggested by the Arkansas Wrestling Association..



Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Robert McCord

  • The man behind the camera

    Newspaper photographers never get much money or attention. I know because I got my first job as one in the 1940s. In 1957, a guy named Will Counts learned it when he made the best pictures of the desegregation of Little Rock's Central High School.
    • Oct 4, 2007
  • A straw poll

    Max Brantley took the week off. In his place, Robert McCord writes about presidential politics.
    • Mar 15, 2007
  • NLR: Second city no more.

    A long-time North Little Rock resident muses on the arrival of a former governor and current lieutenant governor and looks back at hometowns of governors and presidential contenders from Arkansas.
    • Jan 25, 2007
  • More »

More by Max Brantley

  • Nasty women rise up against The Deplorable Donald

    It had to happen. Donald Trump's debate interjection that Hillary Clinton was a "nasty woman" has become a battle cry among women; a Twitter meme; a Facebook favorite, and, naturally, a marketing opportunity for T-shirt, button and bumper sticker makers.
    • Oct 22, 2016
  • Formal opposition emerges to Issue 3, the corporate welfare amendment

    It became apparent this morning that at least some money would be spent in opposition to Issue 3, a massive corporate welfare proposal to allow the state to pledge unlimited tax money to private projects and to allow local governments to also give money to private business and chamber of commerce lobbyists, a practice that has been ruled unconstitutional currently.
    • Oct 22, 2016
  • Boozman goes negative on Conner Eldridge

    Hmm. Nice ol' Republican Sen. John Boozman goes negative on upstart Democratic challenger Conner Eldridge? Feeling maybe a tiny bit of heat from Eldridge's attacks on Boozman as a nice guy, underachieving nonentity more interested in globe trotting than leading, not to mention a devoted supporter of Donald Trump?
    • Oct 22, 2016
  • More »

Most Shared

Latest in Bob McCord

  • NLR: Second city no more.

    A long-time North Little Rock resident muses on the arrival of a former governor and current lieutenant governor and looks back at hometowns of governors and presidential contenders from Arkansas.
    • Jan 25, 2007
  • Parting thoughts

    This column is kind of a difficult one for me, and I will tell you why at the end. I have written some things that I believe would make Arkansas a better and more prosperous state.
    • Nov 23, 2006
  • On the winning side

    There were a lot of interesting things that happened all over in the country and in Arkansas at last week’s voting. For the first time I had more winners than losers, and...
    • Nov 16, 2006
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Logoly State Park dedicates new visitors center

Logoly State Park dedicates new visitors center

Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Arkansas 2016: the microclimate election

    In the lead-up to the past four Arkansas election cycles, the forecast has been a fairly simple one: strong winds blowing in the GOP direction.
  • The big loser

    So now the big crybaby says he's losing because his opponent is crooked and the referees are blind.
  • Trumped in Arkansas

    After two solid debates and the release of a video and corroborating testimony that further confirmed the misogyny of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton is favored to win the presidential election Nov. 8

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The big loser

    • We are leaving in 3 hours. An I never said that anybody said I DID…

    • on October 22, 2016
  • Re: The big loser

    • Here's some more information for the investigator from the Enquirer. It's a confession from somebody…

    • on October 21, 2016
  • Re: The big loser

    • Nobody here but you said anything bad about Shelton. Nothing that happened to her was…

    • on October 21, 2016

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation