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Arkansas Industrial University Football Team

Forerunners of the Arkansas Razorbacks football team, the 1896 Arkansas Industrial University football team (the name of the school was changed to the University of Arkansas in 1899) was known as the Cardinals. Professors John C. Futrall (back row, far right), and B. N. Wilson coached the team. According to Orville Henry and Jim Bailey in their book, The Razorbacks: A Story of Arkansas Football, the early years of football at Arkansas saw a struggle to justify the team’s existence. Henry and Bailey quoted the school’s 1897 yearbook: “The legislature of our state seems to cling to the antiquated and moss-grown idea that an appropriation – even a small one—for athletics is not only a waste of time but a positive detriment to the welfare of the students, arguing from the standpoint that too much time and energy spent in athletics would lead to a corresponding diminution of mental labor.” Washington County Historical Society Collection (P-793)

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