Razorback football season in limbo as COVID-19 outbreak shows no slowing down


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Normally this time of year, Razorback fans are gearing up for a new season. The season is less than two months away, and COVID-19’s ongoing spread means the 2020 campaign isn’t guaranteed.

Sven Larson is a Razorback fan from Northwest Arkansas, and he said he doesn’t remember a time when he didn’t root for the Hogs.

“I’ve just always been a fan ever since the [Darren] McFadden era, the Casey Dick era,” Larson said.

Larson said he’s been inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium and witnessed oft-discussed high points in person.

“[Those moments] where the crowd is just ecstatic, and you can tell the true Razorbacks really show their true colors there,” Larson said.

So, Larson said he’s excited about the upcoming season—Sam Pittman’s inaugural year as head coach. As conferences and teams decide whether to even play this season, one shrouded in a cloud of growing COVID-19 cases, it’s not a given that Arkansas will get to play.

“To even have that consideration is just crazy,” Larson said.

Mervin Jebaraj is a University of Arkansas economist. He said these past couple subpar seasons have given Razorback fans a chance to see what it’ll be like for local businesses on Saturdays. No Saturday splurging means no boost for Fayetteville’s economy.

“I just think that part of the business that comes from [games] is probably going to be difficult to have,” Jebaraj said. “It might be slightly worse than the attendance we’ve had in the last year, and certainly that affected the businesses.”

Larson said it’ll be more of an emotional toll, one he hopes to avoid if people simply subscribe to scientific guidlines.

“Freedom comes with a responsibility, and that’s to take care of others here in the United States,” Larson said.

Without football, Larson’s Saturdays would look a lot different.

“[I might get into] woodworking, making birdhouses, birdwatching,” Larson said. “We’ll see.”

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