College football could soon have a permanent home in Little Rock.
Today, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock announced its plans to conduct a feasibility study to determine the costs and procedures of starting a football and marching band program at the school.
Earlier this year, UALR students presented a petition of 1,000 signatures in favor of starting a football program at the school for the first time since 1955.
"Since that time, I've heard from many other students, alumni, community members, and business leaders who have expressed their interest in a Division I football program in greater Little Rock," Chancellor Andrew Rogerson said. "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."
The University will reportedly work with the City of Little Rock and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism to conduct a six-to-seven-month study among the University, the community and city and state leaders to determine if the addition of a football and marching band program would be logical for Little Rock. The study is expected to be completed by spring 2018.
While the study doesn't guarantee that college football will return to Little Rock, Little Rock Athletic Director Chasse Conque is excited for the possibility.
"We'll learn a lot through this study, and I am anxious to see the data," Conque said. "The interest from our students and other stakeholders in the community is evidence that we are in the midst of exciting times for Little Rock Trojan athletics."
The Trojans could potentially utilize War Memorial Stadium as its home stadium, giving new life to the venue amid uncertainty with its future with the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Razorbacks are currently under contract to play one game each year in Little Rock until 2018 but have not committed to renewing a deal with the stadium afterward.
UALR has been a member of the Sun Belt Conference since 1992 and has been a member of Division I athletics since the 1970s. Previously, the school enjoyed football success as Little Rock Junior College, claiming the national championship in the 1949 Junior Rose Bowl Game and winning the Mississippi Valley Conference championship in 1954. The football program ended after the 1955 season.
Portions of a UALR press release were used for this article. The full release can be found here.
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