UALR re­ceives four bids for foot­ball fea­si­bil­ity study

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL - BROOKS KUBENA

Four FedEx boxes were opened Thurs­day af­ter­noon in a con­fer­ence room, re­veal­ing the firms that sub­mit­ted bids to con­duct a fea­si­bil­ity study to help the Univer­sity of Arkansas at Lit­tle Rock de­cide whether it will pur­sue res­tart­ing a foot­ball pro­gram.

UALR an­nounced July 12 that it would con­duct such a study, which could re­sult in the re­birth of a foot­ball pro­gram that played its fi­nal sea­son in 1955.

De­siree Tag­gard, UALR’s in­terim di­rec­tor of pro­cure­ment ser­vices, pulled out the spi­ral-bound pack­ets and read the four firm’s names: Col­le­giate Con­sult­ing, Col­lege Sports So­lu­tions, Brails­ford & Dunlavey, and Con­ven­tions, Sports & Leisure In­ter­na­tional.

The lat­ter ar­rived in a box marked with the red-printed word “OVERNIGHT.”

Each of the firms have ex­ten­sive back­grounds in ath­letic de­vel­op­ment projects, and the At­lanta-based Col­lege Sports So­lu­tions worked on a sim­i­lar foot­ball fea­si­bil­ity study with Wi­chita State Univer­sity in 2016.

That study cost $60,000, ac­cord­ing to The Wi­chita Ea­gle, and the univer­sity has not pur­sued a foot­ball pro­gram since find­ing the start-up fa­cil­ity costs were more than $40 mil­lion and foot­ball bud­gets started around $6 mil­lion an­nu­ally.

UALR would only permit ac­cess to the names of the firms that sub­mit­ted bids, cit­ing the part of the Arkansas Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act that ex­empts pub­lic dis­clo­sure of “files that, if dis­closed would give ad­van­tage to com­peti­tors or bid­ders and records main­tained by the Arkansas Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion re­lated to any busi­ness en­tity’s plan­ning, site lo­ca­tion, ex­pan­sion, op­er­a­tions, or prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and mar­ket­ing, un­less ap­proval for re­lease of such records is granted by the busi­ness en­tity.”

Each pack­age con­tained two sep­a­rate pack­ets which, ac­cord­ing to the univer­sity’s re­quire­ments, con­tained a tech­ni­cal pro­posal and a pric­ing pro­posal.

An eval­u­a­tion com­mit­tee will rec­om­mend a firm for leg­isla­tive ap­proval by Aug. 31, and Tag­gard said the com­mit­tee will re­view all the tech­ni­cal pro­pos­als be­fore ex­am­in­ing the pric­ing pro­pos­als.

Chan­cel­lor An­drew Roger­son said in July that the es­ti­mated cost of the study, which will take 6 to 7 months, will be un­der $100,000 and that the school will di­vide equal parts of the cost with the city of Lit­tle Rock and the Arkansas Depart­ment of Parks and Tourism.

UALR’s share, Roger­son said, will be paid with pri­vate funds from the ath­letic depart­ment.

A fo­cus of the study will be how UALR can take in enough rev­enue to cover the cost of run­ning a foot­ball pro­gram, which was a cen­tral point of Col­lege Sport So­lu­tions in the Wi­chita State study.

The firm also pro­vided an es­ti­mated time­line with a plan for the foot­ball team to be­gin play in four years.

Col­le­giate Con­sult­ing, also based in At­lanta, did a fea­si­bil­ity study in 2011 with Ap­palachian State to help it de­cide whether it wanted to seek mem­ber­ship in a con­fer­ence that spon­sored foot­ball in the NCAA Di­vi­sion I Foot­ball Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion.

The firm com­pared Ap­palachian State’s foot­ball sta­dium and ath­letic bud­gets with FBS foot­ball pro­grams and found that the school’s bud­get would need an in­crease of $6 mil­lion an­nu­ally to com­pet­i­tively field teams in an FBS con­fer­ence.

Ap­palachian State joined the Sun Belt Con­fer­ence on July 1, 2014.

Brails­ford & Dunlavey, head­quar­tered in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., pro­vided the fea­si­bil­ity study that helped the city of Amar­illo, Texas, win the bid for the San Diego Padres’ Class AA af­fil­i­ate, which will re­lo­cate from San An­to­nio in 2019.

Con­ven­tions, Sports and Leisure In­ter­na­tional, which has of­fices in Dal­las and Min­neapo­lis, pro­vided the 2012 fea­si­bil­ity study to help Colorado State Univer­sity plan its even­tual 42,000 seat, $246 mil­lion on-cam­pus sta­dium.

CSU will open its foot­ball sea­son at the new sta­dium Aug. 26 against Ore­gon State, and the game has of­fi­cially been de­clared a sell­out.

Demo­crat-Gazette file photo

Univer­sity of Arkansas at Lit­tle Rock Chan­cel­lor An­drew Roger­son (left), speaking with former chan­cel­lor Joel Anderson in May, said the es­ti­mated cost of a study to de­cide whether it should pur­sue res­tart­ing a foot­ball pro­gram will be un­der $100,000.

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