The state of Arkansas has passed a law that allows concealed-carry handguns on publicly-owned property, which would include college sporting events.
Since it was realized immediately upon the bill’s announcement what a terrible, horrendous idea allowing lubed-up sports fans to bring handguns with them to the game would be, the law was quickly amended to exclude college sporting events.
But on Tuesday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement arguing for Razorbacks events to be exempted from the law.
To date, Arkansas AD Jeff Long and head football coach Bret Bielema have yet to comment on the law, and Sankey’s statement today is likely coordinated with that — pushing the buck upwards while not crossing those in the Natural State that may be in favor of the bill.
One day after Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a bill to allow concealed guns to be carried into football stadiums, the state senate voted to make an exemption to block guns on game day.
The house bill that was signed into law by the governor this week would have allowed those with proper training to be allowed to bring a concealed handgun into an otherwise restricted area such as a football stadium. The bill overruled any stadium policies banning weapons as well, but that will no longer be the case.
According to the Associated Press, the Arkansas state senate voted 22-10 in favor of an exemption to the rule that would uphold a weapons ban in football stadiums throughout the state. The law will still allow those with the proper training to carry a concealed handgun on college campuses, in bars and government buildings, but football stadiums are off limits.
The amended bill still must pass through the House of Representatives in Arkansas.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has signed a bill regarding a person’s ability to carry a concealed handgun into various buildings at a public university or college into state law. However, House Bill 1249 will not allow all legal gun owners to carry a gun to a football game in the state of Arkansas.
Football games will be considered a “sensitive area,” which require enhanced training in order to be allowed to carry a gun into a football stadium. The law supposedly trumps any provisions already in place to prevent guns from being allowed on the premises.
“The enhanced level of training is very important, and I am convinced the public will be more safe,” Governor Hutchinson said. “This bill, in my view, reflects the view of the general assembly.”
The bill has received praise from Arkansas Republican state representative Charlie Collins and the NRA.
While the bill has now become an act in the state, it will not go into effect until January 2018, so guns will still not be allowed in football games where Arkansas, Arkansas State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, or Central Arkansas during the 2017 season.
The news of the new Arkansas state law comes on the same day the SEC has just unveiled a new clear bag policy for football games in the 2017 season. How the SEC handles this latest state law within its footprint remains to be seen (as well as the Sun Belt Conference). The bigger question will be where the SEC stands on this law considered the law is designed to overrule any stadium policies. The way the law is written, the SEC may not be able to do much to stand in the way, but the conference has those clear bag policies hammered down, rest assured.
Arkansas and Kentucky played in the SEC Tournament’s championship game on Sunday, an 82-65 Wildcats rout.
As Kentucky pulled away for the championship, things got a little chippy. And by a little chippy, I mean an Arkansas player taking a shot to Kentucky’s best player’s face.
Moses Kingsley was ejected from the game for that shot, but the Arkansas basketball team didn’t thing it was that big of a deal.
And in the eyes of Bret Bielema, the fault was with SEC officials being too chummy with Kentucky players.
Nothing like an SEC head football coach accusing his conference’s officials of being in a conspiracy with a fellow league member.
The SEC has a scheduling policy in place to have all 14 members play at least one power conference opponent each season. Exceptions have and will be made when appropriate, and that is the case for Arkansas and its 2018 schedule. Arkansas has announced a 2018 home game against Colorado State of the Mountain West Conference. The game fills out the Arkansas schedule for 2018 without a power conference opponent on the non-conference schedule, but the SEC is giving the Razorbacks a pass.
The September 8, 2018 road game at Colorado State has been excused by the SEC after the Razorbacks were left in a bit of a bind with the schedule for 2018. Arkansas originally had a home-and-home series lined up with Michigan, but the Wolverines opted to buy out the contract in order to arrange for a home-and-home series with longtime rival Notre Dame. Arkansas attempted to fulfill its scheduling requirement for the SEC by tracking down a power conference opponent for the vacant spot on the schedule, but found no takers available. As a result, Arkansas worked out a deal with Colorado State to tack on an extra game to go with a 2019 home game already on the books. Rather than have Colorado State make two trips to Arkansas, the Rams may have held some bargaining power and were able to get the SEC program to head to Fort Collins for the first part in a home-and-home arrangement.
“Being able to bring an SEC opponent to Fort Collins speaks to the growth of our program and also speaks to the impact our new on-campus stadium is already making,” Colorado State head coach Mike Bobo said in a released statement. “We want to challenge ourselves in our non-conference schedule and also bring those quality opponents to our home field and our fans.”
For Colorado State, the level of difficulty for the schedule is just about as good as it can get for a midmajor program. In 2018, the Rams will face in-state rival Colorado, Arkansas, and Florida. Colorado State has lined up a good handful of power conference opponents for future schedules, including Vanderbilt (2020-2021, 2025-2026), Texas Tech (2025-2026) and Arizona (2027-2028). This upcoming season, the Rams play Colorado in Denver, at Alabama and at home against Oregon State.
The SEC allows games against Army, BYU and Notre Dame to count toward the conference’s power conference scheduling requirement and makes exemptions given the right set of circumstances when appropriate. Arkansas does already have the non-conference scheduling commitment satisfied for 2017 (TCU) and 2021 (Texas) but still has a spot to fill on its schedule for a power conference opponent every other season starting in 2019 (Portland State, Colorado State, San Jose State). If Arkansas cannot find another power conference opponent play in 2019, it may need to beg the SEC for forgiveness once more and hope Colorado State can be good enough for consideration.
All of those does bring an interesting question to the table. What happens if a school does not satisfy the conference’s power conference requirement on the schedule? Is there any actual punishment?