LITTLE ROCK — New legislation would force a football match-up between the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University for charity.
House Bill 2274 by Rep. Andy Mayberry, R-Hensley, would require the UA and ASU athletic departments to "cause their respective NCAA varsity football teams to play each other" in at least a one-time regular season football game at War Memorial Stadium.
Under the bill, a minimum of $250,000 in proceeds would be dedicated to a "government, community, charitable or philanthropic group, project or organization that benefits the state of Arkansas."
Mayberry said that a website would go live Tuesday to allow Arkansans to vote on whether to pursue the Arkansas-ASU game.
People can also vote on where the proceeds should be dedicated. There are five options: A new veterans’ home to be constructed in Little Rock, War Memorial Stadium, the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, Arkansas Children’s Hospital or the Little Rock Zoo.
"For those people who say, ‘Should you really be spending your time legislating something like that?’ that’s why it says ‘the people’s game’ – that’s what it says on the website," Mayberry told TalkBusiness.
Mayberry said he will withdraw the bill if the vote comes back negative.
Rep. Harold Copenhaver, D-Jonesboro, a co-sponsor of Mayberry’s bill, said a shell bill he has filed, HB 1893, could be amended to require other sports events involving Arkansas state schools.
Copenhaver said he envisions competition between the Division 1 basketball, baseball or volleyball teams that could include a round-robin tournament, with proceeds benefiting veterans or another worthy cause.
"Anything that brings the state together and the funds stay within the state, that can only be beneficial," he said.