When the new University of Arkansas - Fort Smith Lions Hall of Fame inducted seven former Lions athletes, some people asked why those athletes received the honor and others, equally deserving, were left unacknowledged. According to Dustin Smith, UA-Fort Smith Athletic Director, many thousands of students have participated in various sports during the school’s 81-year athletic history. He noted that it was not possible to induct all of them, not even all of the deserving ones, in the inaugural ceremony.
"This task is large because we have had so many great athletes, coaches, and friends of the program throughout our history,” Smith said. “The focus was to truly honor the foundation of this athletic program. We are only where we are now because of those individuals from our past.” He said the task of narrowing 81 years of individuals to seven members was very difficult, but he thought the committee did a great job. “This is a starting point, and we will continue to add to it as the years go on,” Smith said.
When the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith wanted to reach NCAA II status, they needed two additional sports teams to qualify. Cross country was the natural choice; eight of our nine Heartland Conference opponents already have cross country teams. The sport is also much lighter on the budget than, let’s say, soccer.
The University of Arkansas - Fort Smith men’s tennis team is now competing at the NCAA division II level. But with this new status, the competition is much deeper, and injuries play a much more serious role.
Can you take your UA Fort Smith athlete girlfriend or boyfriend out to dinner? If you are an athlete, University donor or employee, or a member of the UA Fort Smith Athletic Club boosters, the answer is no. UA Fort Smith athletes must pay for their own restaurant meals and provide their own transportation.
As a full-fledged member of the NCAA Division II, UA Fort Smith is subject to numerous rules that must be followed in order to maintain the eligibility of student athletes. While membership in the booster club is fun and brings special “perks,” it also carries great responsibility. For example, the rules state that club members who buy dinner for a Lions athlete can disqualify that athlete from competition, from retaining scholarships, and more.