Why was football dropped at Hendrix in 1960?
Financial reasons. The administration did not feel it could continue to give athletic aid and stipends to keep up with the competition in the old Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference. As a small private college, officials wanted to primarily use funds and scholarships for academics.
Why is it being revived?
It’s part of a recent trend among private, liberal arts universities of either adding or reviving football. In research before putting football back on the table in 2008 pending fundrasing for start-up, the Hendrix Board of Trustees discovered that 95 percent of potential students listed having football as a positive influence in a potential college decision.
Alumni surveyed also said having football would also increase their level of giving to the college. In the areas Hendrix recruits, particularly Texas, offering varsity football is a high priority in a college decision.
Greater enrollment means more operating funds for the overall budget for academics. The Hendrix trustees stipulated football could only be added when enough private funds would raised so the sport would not take away from the academic budget. Also, private schools are adding football to attract more male students because the general female-to-male ratio is great.
Besides the obvious equipment changes, what will be the major difference this time from last time?
Scholarships. Hendrix, was an NAIA member (as were most private institutions) when football was dropped. It is now an NCAA Division III institution, which does not allow scholarships or financial aid for athletics. That doesn’t mean the players do not have any kind of aid; it just can’t be to participate in athletics. And the same financial aid has to be available to every prospective student. Athletics is an elective. All of the Hendrix players will be on some kind of aid in the form of academic scholarships, leadership grants, etc.
And because, Hendrix is the only Division III football tram in the state right now, the Warriors will not play an in-state team for the first time in its history.
So there are no binding contracts to commit either the player or Hendrix to playing football?
Correct. The player can give up football at any time without penalty. There will be players who will play a year, two years, three years, four years, depending on their academic track. The roster can change by the week, month and year. Players on commit to joining the team. A player’s commitment to football is not binding.
So, it’s basically high-level intramurals?
No. Almost every Division III player was a top performer (all-conference, all-district, all-state) on his high school team. The top teams in DIII have several players who had scholarship offers from colleges and universities at level that offers athletic aid (NAIA, Division II or Division I FCS). With no pro football ambitions, they choose to commit themselves primarily to an academic track in college in order to prepare for a career in law, medicine, business, etc., while having one final fling at organized football against opponents who are on an equal academic track with the same mindset.
Who is the coach?
Justin “Buck” Buchanan, a native of Denison, Texas, and a former player at Austin College, is the head coach. He built a Division III football program from scratch at Louisiana College in Pineville, La. He will has a fulltime staff of five with nine total coaches.
Who will the Warriors play?
Hendrix is a member of the Southern Athletic Association, which consists of like-minded private, liberal arts institutions in six states: Centre (Kentucky) Rhodes and Sewanee (Tennessee), Birmingham-Southern, Oglethorpe and Berry (Georgia) and Millsaps (Mississippi). The University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis are soon being added as affiliate members for football. The Warriors will have six home games this season. They will eventually play an eight-game conference schedule with two non-conference games.
Are there playoffs leading toward a national championship?
Just like every other NCAA division other than Division I FBS, Division III has a bracketed playoff system toward a national championship.
How many players will Hendrix have from Arkansas?
Buchanan says about 20 of his initial 55-player roster will be from Arkansas.
Where will they play?
At the newly constructed Young-Wise Stadium on campus adjacent to the Wellness & Athletic Center. The stadium, fieldhouse and coaches offices are being built alongside the track and an artificial surface field that is also used for lacrosse.
How much are tickets?
The best deal in town. All Hendrix athletic events have free admission. It’s in keeping with the Division III philosophy that athletics should be a competitive, fun part of the holistic educational experience and therefore, should not generate revenue.
Will the Warriors play a team from Arkansas?
Only possibly Lyon College, which is resurrecting football on the NAIA level for 2015. The Warriors may scrimmage a Division II scholarship school on occasion, but they are pretty much locked into two non-scholarship games and will generally only play teams on their level.