Arkansas still Trying to work out Stadium Deal

Thursday, August 3rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LITTLE ROCK (AP) -- Officials of both War Memorial Stadium and the University of Arkansas say they hope to bring a long-running contract dispute to an end soon.

Drafts of the contract at issue, for Razorback football games in the Little Rock stadium, have been traded back and forth for several weeks among officials of the stadium, lawyers in the attorney general's office representing the stadium commission – a state agency like the university -- and lawyers for the university.

University of Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles said this week that the matter must be resolved by Monday. If it isn't, he said, the season opener on Sept. 2 against Southwest Missouri will be moved from Little Rock, where it has been scheduled, to Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

Fans with tickets for the Sept. 2 game at Little Rock got letters this week advising them they should make reservations for that game in Fayetteville, as a precaution.

The stadium commission had a meeting scheduled Thursday at Little Rock to review the latest draft of a response to the latest proposal from the university. "We want to get it approved, and they want to get it approved, so we'll get together ... and see if we can't do it," said Leo "Hippo" Crafton of Conway, a stadium commissioner.

The latest changes in the contract deal with advertising and promotions, but parking facilities have also played a role in disagreements over wording of the contract. Broyles and other UA officials were expected to have reviewed the latest changes and responded by the time the stadium commission met Thursday.

In the past week, War Memorial officials, particularly Brenda Scisson of Little Rock, chairwoman of the commission's contract committee, have met repeatedly with lawyers in the attorney general's office. Scisson and Broyles have met at least once to discuss terms of the proposed contract.

In recent weeks, attention has focused on concerns over possible conflicts between Alltel Corp., a Little Rock-based telephone company that has paid for advertising rights at War Memorial, and Southwestern Bell, which has been designated an official sponsor of Razorback athletics.