The Arkansas High School All-Star games may be headed back to Conway, where they began.
The contests were moved in 2003 to Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas facilities after northwest Arkansas made a strong bid to host all the games on the campus of the flagship university in the state.
University of Central Arkansas officials, with the strong support of city officials, will make a strong bid in June to return the games to Conway for the summer 2013. Arkansas Activities Association officials are reportedly receptive initial conversatons. UCA officials are optimistic.
The issue may come down to whether cooperate sponsors in northwest Arkansas, with the backing of the UA, will make a "can’t refuse" bid.
The key for Conway is location, particularly with the number of all-stars games during the week. It’s a grinding trip from Camden or Jonesboro or Crossett for family and friends to travel to Fayetteville and back on a weeknight. Overnight stays can be expensive.
The last time the all-star games were held in Conway, there was only competition in basketball and football.
Much has changed — with the all-star games, Conway and UCA.
There are now games in soccer, volleyball softball and baseball in addition to basketball and football.
UCA now also has fine facilities (many new and renovated), with about the perfect capacity to host what would realistically be the crowds at the games. The UA has great facilities but they are almost too large to create an atmosphere for crowds that reportedly appear miniscule at most of the games.
What’s also different is UCA’s Brewer-Hegeman Center can host the concurrent Arkansas High School Coaches Association Clinic.
Conway also has more than quadrupled its quality hotel/motel facilities.
The current contract for the games in Fayetteville ends after this summer.
The prestige of playing at Razorback facilities may be offset by convenience and a central location.
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 501-505-1234 or firstname.lastname@example.org)