LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – There are a lot of changes going on at the Little Rock Trojans campus, many of which are in the athletics department.
For 31 years the Trojans have been part of the Sun Belt Conference, but now the sun has set.
Starting this coming school year, Little Rock will be part of the Ohio Valley Conference, a conference that athletic director George Lee said “was the right fit.”
Little Rock is one of three new additions to the OVC alongside Lindenwood and Southern Indiana.
“It gives us the opportunity to compete with regional schools that spend the same amount of money on athletics.”
If you were wondering, the in-state rivalry between Little Rock and Arkansas State will continue.
The programs have signed a 4-year agreement and will alternate home courts each year during non-conference games.
Lee says switching conferences is great for student-athletes and Trojan fans because all but one of the OVC members are located within 500 miles of the Little Rock campus. This will generate less travel time, missed classes and expenses and more fan support.
The longer we can keep them off the road and keep them here in college and studying and practicing and doing all these things, I think the better off we are,” Lee said.
And with a new conference, comes a new court with a new logo. Little Rock will receive a new field design after having kept the same since 2005, when the Jack Stephens Center opened.
In addition, the men’s and women’s basketball teams have new locker rooms.
Men’s basketball head coach Derrell Walker says he’s thrilled with the Ohio Valley Conference’s fresh start. Walker is in his 5th season and he’s loving the changes he’s seeing.
It will be totally different from what it was. This place was built in 2005 and it was time for an update,” Coach Walker said.
The biggest “update” to the program would be the two 60-foot-wide video panels that will be located at either end of the field.
It’s safe to say that Coach Walker is very excited about it.
“This video card is top of the line. I can’t wait for it to start working so I can take a look.
At the start of her senior season, Angélique Francis is proud of the changes to come in her future alma mater.
“It’s amazing that I can be a part of it. It’s my last year and I can see that. There’s a lot of changes happening and a lot more to come,” Francis said.
To add to the list of renovations, a new Academic Services Center is under construction.