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Are 'Rich Ego Guys' – Like Jerry Jones – Holding Back Arkansas Football?

'Ruscin & Zach' asked a question: Are boosters hanging problems on program?

FAYETTEVILLE — To be fair, it seems counterintuitive.

Is the University of Arkansas football program's greatest strength — the booster power of the Jerry Jones family — actually a weakness?

Coach Sam Pittman addressed an aspect of booster power, in a way, in his Wednesday press conference. The Hogs have home games ... on the road.

"It's certainly not good for recruiting," Pittman said of Saturday morning's kickoff against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

He was talking about playing a "home game'' in Little Rock less than a month after playing a "home game'' at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Playing in Little Rock has been part of a political juggling act in which legislators and governors have weighed in for over 20 years. And going to the home of the Dallas Cowboys, the NFL team owned by former Razorback and super-booster Jerry Jones?

That's a contractual commitment. And to critics, something more. 

Or less.

"There are a handful of rich people that are holding back Razorback football because, 'This is what we want ... we don't really care what's best for the program,'" Derek Ruscin said on the "Ruscin & Zach'' show on the ESPN Arkansas radio stations across the state.

In case there was any doubt about who he was talking about, he named one of the biggest names.

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"Jerry Jones is one of them 'cause 'we gotta have this thing in Arlington every year 'cause it just makes me feel good,'" Ruscin said.

The argument against: The Hogs lose valuable contact with recruits on playing games at AT&T Stadium and in Little Rock. They can give tickets to recruits (when they are the home team in Arlington), but they cannot have any contact with them.

That, it can be argued, is the most valuable part of getting the type of players you need in the SEC.

"You bring a coach in here, you ask him to do all these things and build this thing up and then you immediately slap handcuffs on him," Ruscin said. "By the way, every other year you lose a home game to Arlington because we've gotta go kiss Jerry's backside and then every so often we have to go kiss (booster businessman) Warren Stephens' backside so you have to give away another home game to Little Rock."

Pittman is not going to say anything negative about Jones (or really anybody else, for that matter).

Playing in Little Rock is political. Playing in Arlington is a political. There are positives — like exposure.

Counterintuitive though it may be, the Joneses are magnanimous in their support of this school, financially and emotionally, the radio show believes strongly there are negatives.

"You've got to go down and kiss the ring in Arlington and you've got to go down and kiss the ring in Little Rock," Zach Arns.


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