Many of my friends are just like me; except the ones that do that “War Eagle” thing. Living in Birmingham is all about the Tide and the Tigers.
I believe it’s written in our State Constitution somewhere in one those 860 amendments that when a new comer moves to our State he must choose between Alabama and Auburn.
This is great fun and we all enjoy every minute of it.
However, as an advocate for our Birmingham region, I worry about how supportive the University of Alabama is of Birmingham.
Certainly in sports, U of A has been a questionable friend:
- Years ago Birmingham had a chance to get an NFL team—rumor says Bear Bryant stopped it.
- Alabama played football in Birmingham and then moved its games to Tuscaloosa.
- Alabama refuses to play UAB in major sports (which hurts UAB’s athletic program).
- Last year U of A Trustees killed UAB’s plan for an on-campus football stadium.
- U of A (and Auburn) pilfered the State Super Six High School Football Championship from Birmingham.
- Birmingham continues to fight Alabama and Auburn’s attempt to steal the Alabama High School Basketball Playoffs.
It’s clear that Birmingham’s future is much more closely aligned to UAB than to Alabama or Auburn.
Can you even imagine a Birmingham without UAB?
What would Birmingham look like without the 86 square blocks occupied by UAB?
Where would our people work? UAB is the largest employer in the State with 18,000 employees–and that doesn’t count the tens of thousands of people and businesses that support UAB.
People from all over the world travel to UAB for healthcare–we are minutes away.
Eighteen thousand of our students depend on UAB for their education.
UAB has an economic impact of over $5 billion a year.
If Alabama and Auburn doubled in size and UAB folded, our Birmingham region would be devastated.
In recent years, Birmingham’s lost many public and S&P 500 companies, and in my opinion, will continue to do so. UAB is a rock. It’s not going anywhere.
We should keep trying to recruit new businesses to Birmingham, but we might get a better result by putting all our efforts into growing UAB.
Birmingham is UAB and UAB is Birmingham.
The University of Alabama, as it should, is looking out for itself and its home in Tuscaloosa.
We in Birmingham should do the same for ourselves by supporting UAB any way we can.
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David Sher is the publisher of ComebackTown, a co-founder of Buzz12 Advertising and co-CEO of AmSher Collection Agency. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham)), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).