Arkansas, Texas Tech on Tap
Arkansas' football program made two big announcements on Wednesday – one on a future opponent and another one about engaging its fans on a possible enlargement of Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
The future opponent is old Southwest Conference foe Texas Tech, who will host the Razorbacks on Sept. 13, 2014 and then visit Fayetteville on September 2015 according to Jeff Long, Arkansas' Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics.
"With the Texas Tech series, we are renewing a Southwest Conference rivalry and strengthening our non-conference schedule while gaining valuable exposure in Texas," Long said. "With the landscape of the college football postseason changing, it is imperative that we schedule competitive non-conference matchups that will benefit our program."
New Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema noted he was looking forward to the match-ups.
"The addition of Texas Tech gives us a quality non-conference opponent for the first two years when the world of college football changes with the playoffs in 2014," Bielema said. "We anticipate strength of schedule being a factor in deciding which teams are selected and feel adding Texas Tech to our already strong conference schedule puts us in a great position in that regard. There is a tremendous amount of excitement around our program, and this is a matchup our fans can look forward to."
Arkansas leads the all-time series by a whopping 28-7, including a 15-2 edge in Lubbock, a 6-2 one in Fayetteville and 7-3 in Little Rock.
Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt also was excited about the announcement.
"We are thrilled to begin a home-and-home series with the University of Arkansas," Hocutt said in a news release on Wednesday. "Texas Tech and Arkansas had many memorable games while conference foes in the Southwest Conference, so this should be very exciting for the fans. We feel like we will be placing ourselves in great position as we kickoff the College Football Playoff era in 2014, with a non-conference opponent the caliber of Arkansas and a challenging Big 12 schedule."
The Razorbacks already have announced a series with Michigan – at Ann Arbor in 2018 and in Fayetteville in 2019.
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Long also announced in a release that the athletic department had begun a study of fans to examine expanding seating in the North End Zone of Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
"As we continue to evaluate the potential of expanding our stadium in the north end zone, it is important to include input from our current season ticket holders and other fans," Long said. "This survey will help us better understand and quantify the demand expressed by supporters during our Razorback Seat Value Plan (RSVP). There are many variables to consider with this project, and it is important that we strive to accommodate the preferences of Razorback fans now and in the future."
The survey was emailed to all season ticket holders on Wednesday and they have 10 days to respond.
The results will be available by the end of the summer.
The expansion would cost between $78 to $95 million and would include several luxury suites (some with access to field level and the players) and loge boxes that would seat 4 to 8 people and include amenities such as premium TV content.
In the release, it notes that the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees approved a market and cost analysis of the potential expansion back in February. The purpose of the analysis is to examine the variables associated with an expansion such as seating capacity, design, construction, economic variables and the demand for additional seating, all of which should be studied when considering the feasibility of a stadium expansion.
If the university determines the expansion to be viable and a decision is made to proceed, the project will be brought back to the Board of Trustees for approval prior to beginning of the actual project. The funding of the market and cost analysis study and any potential project will be from athletic revenues, gifts, and bond proceeds from a future bond issue amortized using athletic revenues generated from the stadium expansion.
What the proposed new North End Zone would look like at Razorback Stadium.
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