Revelations from The State of the Pack

The A-State Athletics Zoom event gave fans a peek into how the program intends to compete

My life has, more or less, become a never ending freight train of Zoom meetings. Adding the “State of the Pack,” featuring an all-star cast of Red Wolves, was a simple enough process. I just added it to the day’s queue. But I must admit, it was one of the more entertaining Zooms I’ve experienced, even if Matt Stolz’s mic volume needed prompter adjusting.

“The State of the Pack” was a mixed bag of donation solicitations, leadership jargon, and the occasional deep revelation many fans clamored for. Here are some of the more tantalizing revelations.

Chancellor Todd Shields is an absolute unit

I mean, look at this beef battleship:

Butch Jones hosts karaoke at his house

Apparently, karaoke is a thing at Coach Jones’ home. I tried to imagine the Butch Jones playlist. I’m thinking he’s a Kenny Rogers man. Imagine you’re sitting in Jones’ den, dipping a Frito scoop into a bowl of queso as he serenades you with a rendition of Ruby. Powerful stuff!

Also, Jones mentioned that the Spring Game will be April 15.

A-State legend Demario Davis is involved in the NIL Collective

The Saints all-pro linebacker dropped into the Zoom to inform us that he would be taking a hands on approach to the program’s NIL Collective. That’s pretty cool. Furthermore, the collective is called Impackt Club, Inc., and will be directed directed all-star A-State alums Chris Woodard and Davy Carter.

To have Davis on board is a big step to filling A-State’s NIL vault, and the tandem of Woodard & Carter leave me confident that the collective is in well-managed hands.

The baseball program is still a mess

Athletic Director Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Jeff Purinton remained rather vague about Red Wolves baseball, admitting that the program needed work and that while renderings for an improved Tomlinson Stadium have been released, other options remain on the table, including working with the city of Jonesboro. Well, okay then. So, money.

So what about beach volleyball?

The addition of beach volleyball was, of course, the flagship topic of State of the Pack. Okay, it wasn’t, but it did merit this response from Mr. Purinton (thank you, Kara Richey): “I’m open to exploring any possibility. You’d have to run the numbers… I don’t know… beach volleyball in Jonesboro, Arkansas… but it might make sense in terms of a sport we could add.”

In other words, probably not.

The Student Athletes slam dunked a touchdown

The State of the Pack brought in a trio of Red Wolves student athletes, and each repped the University well. At one point, A-State golfer Olivia Schmidt pronounced Arkansas State as “the best place on Earth.” Joining Schmidt in singing A-State’s praises were football player Justin Parks and basketball star Izzy Higginbottom.

The Unbearable Weight of Expectations

Whether or not the State of the Pack event is considered a success is determined by your expectations. Some fans clearly wanted to vent complaints and demand firings. Others found the mostly-positive vibe of the event refreshing and useful.

Personally, I enjoyed the interaction, even if some of it was fluff to prop fundraising efforts. I encourage the administration to host more of these, and ignore the groans of the digital neganistas.