Collegiate travel has many factors to consider |

Excerpted from “Greg Hansen: ‘Mr. Football'” in the Montrose Press

A: From 1920 to 1964, Arizona took the train to football games in El Paso. Then the Wildcats flew to UTEP until the regular home-and-home series ended in 1977. This time, the Wildcats took a bus. (They’ll fly home in the wee hours Saturday morning.)

You may think it’s a cost containment issue, but there is no dedicated cost containment in college football. Not in the Power 5 conferences, or at Arizona, a school that has five full-time “analysts” on Rich Rodriguez’s staff.

 It’s more difficult than ever to book charter jets in both the college and NFL. ProFootballTalk recently reported that six NFL teams had their charter jet arrangements canceled in the last year, and 20 were scrambling to find available aircraft. To combat the lack of available charters, the New England Patriots bought two jumbo jets.

It can cost as much as $300,000 to charter a jet for a long football trip, and probably close to $175,000 to go to and from El Paso. The Wildcats stopped in the middle of nowhere — Lordsburg, New Mexico — for lunch Thursday. If you’ve ever stopped in Lordsburg, you know there is no place that can hustle up lunch for a traveling party of close to 150 people.

So the UA hired a Tucson firm, Sutter’s Catering, to meet them in Lordsburg for lunch.

The UA doesn’t spend money excessively on sports travel; last week, Arizona’s nationally ranked women’s golf team drove to a tournament in Albuquerque, as will the UA men’s golf team for an invitational in Albuquerque next week. Last April, Mike Candrea’s softball team took a bus to Las Cruces — 46 miles from El Paso — rather than fly.

Besides, by the time a football team goes to the airport, clears security, loads the plane and flies to El Paso, it would take about three or four hours. In that time, a bus from Tucson is almost to the Rio Grande.

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