Tuesday, August 5, 2014

WPS: Woo Pig, secrecy

Posted By on Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 6:37 AM

click to enlarge screen_shot_2014-08-05_at_6.27.49_am.png

A football fan of my acquaintance says I should stop worrying about Little Rock police radio broadcasts going secret and worry about something a whole lot more important:

Razorback secrecy.

He notes that football practices at Fayetteville have been closed to reporters for a couple of weeks, with the possible exception of a scrimmage this Saturday. Such information as is revealed is put out on the Razorbacks' flashy new website (the young and tech savvy seem to like it; old fogeys like me have navigational difficulties).

So here's the full practice report available there from yesterday's workout: Excerpt:

"Highlights: During the seven-on-seven drills, junior wide receiver Keon Hatcher was able to slip behind the defense and made a wide-open grab around 25-yards from the line of scrimmage … Brandon Allen opened camp behind center and took snaps with the first-team offense. His velocity on throws were a noticeable increase from last season and had a strong showing on the day to begin his second season in Bielema's offense … The SEC Network was around the field filming the first half of practice for an all-access segment to air later this year on the network."

That's right. The pencil press from Arkansas was denied admission to the playing fields of glory in Fayetteville. But the SEC Network had cameras rolling.

It is all about the money. That's not new. But in the era of big TV money it is far more true. The Democrat-Gazette's report Monday on the Athletic Department's $90 million budget was instructive. About $25 million comes from SEC and NCAA payments, with another $10 million from multi-media and trademark revenue. That $35 million far outweighs the $14 million in private contributions.

Those figures help you understand, too, why the importance of playing a game in Little Rock dwindles with each passing year. It's not only because of the nearly 20,000 extra revenue-producing seats in Fayetteville. To the extent that there still are rich Delta farmers to please with a Little Rock game, they are outnumbered by NWA magnates and both groups are relatively insignificant against TV money.

So, come practice time, the SEC cameras will get in. Nate Allen? Not so much.

Oh for the days of Orville Henry and the daily Razorback "trainer" story, with a tally of every ankle wrapped, every ball bobbled at every practice.

Here's the athletic department budget summary.

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