Wade on Birmingham

Internal debate: Should UAB football continue?


UAB football

Is UAB about to kick football to the curb? It started last week with concerns raised by former player Justin Clark in a letter to UAB president Ray Watts. It has blossomed into accusations, hand-wringing and a growing air of uncertainty over the program’s future.

The debate: Should UAB football continue?

Pro: UAB is 5-5, one win away in its final two games to be bowl eligible. Something that hasn’t happened since 2004.

Con: Five wins is a banner season, having matched or bested UAB win-loss records from the last 12 years.

Pro: Fan support is up this year, with tens of thousands at home games vs. mere thousands last year. New coach halo effect?

Ray WattsCon: Even new UAB president Ray Watts doesn’t support the program.

Pro: The Blazers draw fans despite being stuck at decrepit Legion Field.

Con: That’s good, because the $75 million, 30,000-seat UAB stadium, proposed back in 2011, is never gonna happen.

Pro: BBVA Compass announced last week that it’s pumping $1.5 million into UAB’s football program with a new field.

Con: Wrong football.

Bill ClakrPro: Coach Bill Clark may have turned things around in his first season.

Con: He’s the third new coach in 7 years.

Pro: The Blazers are in the Football Capital of the South. No one loves football more than Birmingham and Alabama folks.

Con: They love Alabama and Auburn, which hauled in four of the five most recent national championships and are both currently ranked in the Top 10. (UAB … somewhere between No. 88 and No. 100.)

Pro: UAB had $2.4 billion in operating revenue and another $410 million in nonoperating revenue in 2013. By comparison, sister school University of Alabama had $660 million in operating revenue and $244 million in nonoperating revenue in 2013.

Con: The UA Trustees call all the shots, and they really couldn’t care less about UAB revenue, football, stadium plans or anything Blazer.

UAB football on al.com

Pro: As it does with Alabama and Auburn, al.com devotes an online section to UAB football.

Con: I’ve never seen a news site allow a college sports PR department have equal/top billing on bylines. UAB Athletics Media Relations has written hundreds of stories for al.com, while a bevy of full-time al.com staffers post all stories, photos and videos for Tide and Tigers football.

Should the Blazers suit up for 2015? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

1 Yip for “Internal debate: Should UAB football continue?”

  1. Scott Scharding
    Saturday, November 15, 2014, 10:04 am

    The decision is not whether football is “fiscally responsible” because, if that was the only determining factor, there would only be about 40 colleges fielding a team. The true decision Dr. Watts and the UA BOT are making is what type of university UAB will be in years to come. Do we want to be Emory or GA Tech? What would be more beneficial for Birmingham? For the state? For generations to come?

    I would rather UAB become the GA Tech of Birmingham.

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