We know Jeff Long and Arkansas are big proponents of playing the Southwest Classic between the Razorbacks and Texas A&M in Arlington every year.
The reasons are obvious: having a presence in DFW is positive for the university recruitment (both in athletics and general student recruitment), the program makes money on it each year as opposed to every other year if it was a home and home, and getting to play in Jerry World is exciting for players and many fans (at first there also seemed to be more prestige associated with it, but so many teams play there now I'd argue it's lost some of that).
However, all those reasons don't necessarily exist for Texas A&M, at least not anymore. In a new story in The Dallas Morning News, Aggies AD Eric Hyman offers a bit of insight on his thought process regarding the neutral site game, and he doesn't appear to be as enthusiastic about it as Long is.
"I'm constantly re-evaluating," Hyman said Tuesday. "Circumstances may change two, three, four, five years from now."
A&M's circumstances have "changed dramatically," Hyman said. "Paramount for me is doing what's right for our supporters."
The biggest change is A&M's big shiny new version of Kyle Field, which beginning this year seats 102,733 people. Last year's game in Arlington hosted only 68,113 fans.
"Would we love to play at home in our new stadium? I don't think there's anyone who wouldn't," said Kevin Sumlin. "But that was decided before I got here."
Interestingly, the story also suggests the possibility that A&M agreed to continue the series in Arlington once they entered the SEC as a negotiation for getting to play LSU at the end of the year instead of Arkansas. That idea has long been rumored among Arkansas fans, but this is the first time I remember seeing it in a major mainstream news outlet.
There is no buyout clause in the contract, but it does specify that if one of the two schools wants to get out of the contract, which currently runs through 2024, the SEC Commissioner will mediate the dispute, and the two schools agree to whatever the Commissioner decides.
A&M fans have been quite vocal about not wanting to play in Arlington anymore. Much more so than Arkansas fans, who as far as I can tell seem to enjoy it. As a fan of home-and-home games, I often feel I'm in the minority of Hog fans on this issue.