UA-Little Rock picks firm to study football | Arkansas Blog

Monday, October 16, 2017

UA-Little Rock picks firm to study football

Posted By on Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 1:03 PM

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UA-Little Rock
said today it had chosen a Texas firm to study the feasibility of adding football to the schools' intercollegiate athletics.

The lead consultant chosen, Convention Sports and Leisure, was hired earlier this year to study the sustainability of War Memorial Stadium, now under the control of the state Parks and Tourism Department. A regular college client — given the University of Arkansas's expected departure from even its one-game commitment at War Memorial — would be helpful in that mission, I'd guess.

The city of Little Rock, state Parks and Tourism and the school are underwriting the study. Pick of the consultant is subject to legislative review, a news release said.

The study is to be completed by spring. It also includes, among other cost considerations, starting a marching band. You can't have a football team without a marching band. You could have a marching band without a football team, I suppose, but .....

I'm endeavoring to find out if these consultants have ever recommended that a university NOT expand a sports program.

UPDATE: Rand Champion, assistant athletic director at UA-Little Rock, responded:"While I obviously don't know the details of their reports, I know both CSL and CarrSports have worked on feasibility studies with schools who have, at this time, chosen not to pursue a football program."

In the U.S. only about 50 universities operate self-sustaining athletic programs, one of them being the University of Arkansas. Most schools, including the other Division I schools in Arkansas, run large deficits — often subsidized by student fees and general college revenue. Football accounts for most expenses because of the number of scholarships required, the size of the coaching staff and other considerations. UA-Little Rock's leading sports now are men's and women's basketball.

Here's the UA-Little Rock release:

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has selected a firm to conduct a football and marching band feasibility study following a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) process. The RFP committee chose Convention Sports & Leisure (CSL) of Plano, Texas, to lead the study, a collaborative effort involving CarrSports Consulting, LLC, Heery Sports, and The Grant Group. The proposal was chosen among four applicants. The selection is pending approval by the Arkansas Legislative Council.

The purpose of the study is to evaluate whether a football program and marching band would be a fiscal and meaningful addition to UA Little Rock and the central Arkansas community. A collaborative project with the city of Little Rock and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, the study will examine every aspect of starting a football program, including costs, staffing, playing venue, facility construction and economic and enrollment impact. The study would put exact figures on both a startup and annual cost for Little Rock football. The university will use the study to help determine if it will move forward with bringing college football back to Little Rock.

If the Convention Sports & Leisure firm is approved, the cost of the study will be divided among the city of Little Rock, UA Little Rock Athletics, and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. The portion paid by the Athletic Department will come from private funds.

CSL is an advisory and planning firm specializing in consulting services to the convention, sport, entertainment, and visitor industries. CSL International has completed more than 500 consulting engagements throughout North America and abroad, focusing on a variety of event facility planning and economic development issues.

Founded in 1988, CSL has worked with clients throughout all levels of athletics, including a number of Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League franchises. At the collegiate level, CSL has experience working with over 50 Division I athletic programs, overseeing feasibility studies for programs such as North Dakota State, South Dakota State and Sun Belt Conference member Georgia Southern.

CarrSports Consulting, LLC, established in 1997, has become one of the nation’s leaders in leadership placement and program advancement with Intercollegiate Athletics, helping counsel clients effectively in executive searches for head coaches, athletic directors and conference commissioners. CarrSports Consulting has worked with over 30 Division I programs to assess football feasibility, including Sun Belt Conference members Appalachian State University, Texas State University, Troy University and the University of South Alabama.

Heery Sports is a full-service architecture, interior design, engineering, program management and construction management firm, founded in 1952. Ranked as one of the top professional services firms by industry publications, Heery has overseen facility enhancement projects at institutions such as the University of Arkansas, Coastal Carolina University, Troy University and Georgia State University.

The Grant Group specializes in Title IX-Gender Equality related issues, bringing over 36 years of experience working with intercollegiate athletics on Title IX-Gender Equality issues. The company has consulted over 60 Division I athletic programs, including nearly half of current Sun Belt Conference institutions, as well as over 20 Power Five programs.

With approval, the firm will begin its study later this fall with an anticipated completion date in spring 2018.

Once the study is concluded and findings presented, the Little Rock Athletic Department will reach out to numerous entities to review the findings and then determine if adding a football program, as well as a marching band, would be a logical decision. These entities will include the UA Little Rock faculty, staff, students, alumni, board members and supporters of the Athletic Department, as well as city and state leaders from the central Arkansas community.

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