In a previous post, I looked at some 2011’s biggest sports stories … by imagining their implications in the year 2020.
Here are more predictions:
3. In 2011, the Benton campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock announced plans for its first four-year program. The school says it’s starting small by only allowing 30 students to initially pursue the new E-commerce degrees, but talk still surfaces of building a new UALR-Benton campus.In 2020 … UALR-Benton and the brand-new UALR-Bryant announce plans to start football programs.
Proceeds from the annual football game between the teams, dubbed the “Salt Bowl: Higher Ed(ition),” are expected to fund 90% of the nascent athletic departments. Boosters of UALR athletics lament this as the first documented case of satellite campuses starting football programs before the main campus. Boosters of UALR-Benton and UALR-Bryant begin seriously examining the possibility of preserving their rivalry through football if a University of Arkansas – Saline County is formed.
4. In 2011, a team from the Fayetteville-based Arkansas Comets football club joined the Women’s Professional Soccer League. It is the state’s first semi-pro soccer team.In 2020 … A Comcast SportsNet regional network agrees to televise and stream some UCA Bears soccer matches as part of a new deal with the Missouri Valley Conference. The deal represents a watershed deal for the state’s only Division I men’s soccer, as the network has determined there is enough soccer interest in the mid-South and mid-West to ramp up their coverage.
The sport’s popularity has grown at a slower rate in Arkansas than larger states, but it appears to be picking up speed. This is aided by the state’s ever-expanding Hispanic population, which 2020 estimates peg at 10% of the total population.
5. In the fall of 2011, Tim Tebow began cementing his place as the nation’s most influential evangelical Christian by quarterbacking the Denver Broncos to six consecutive wins, sparking more public debate about the role of religion in sports. On Nov. 23, Buffalo Wild Wings Bar & Grill begins Footballica, 30 days worth of “good tidings” and free stuff involving caroling, bingo and 23.oz Pilsner glasses.
By 2020 … Tim Tebow has won two Super Bowls and been a member of the U.S. Senate for two years. The 32-year-old, still the face of the Broncos franchise, usually flies into Washington a few days early when playing the Redskins.
Meanwhile, the sociology departments of Ouachita Baptist University, Hendrix College and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville all offer some form of a class on “Tebow-logy,” a study of how the historic roles of religion, sports and politics have evolved in the American public sphere and the implications of Tebow’s rise for the secular democratic principles upon which the U.S. was founded.
These classes quickly become the departments’ most popular offerings.
The above is a modified version of an original publication from Sync magazine.