5 reasons why UAB will pull the plug on UAB football

UAB FootballThere’s been talk that UAB may discontinue its Division 1 football program.  UAB boosters are joining ranks to save it.

It’s heartbreaking because Bill Clark and UAB are showing new life, but I think it’s unavoidable.  There are just too many obstacles for UAB football to overcome.

Even though UAB is having a great turnaround season only 9,457 fans showed up at Legion Field this past week for UAB’s loss to Louisiana Tech.

Here are five reasons why UAB football will probably not survive:

U of A Trustees want UAB Football to fail

There has been no indication that the Alabama Board of Trustees want to support Blazer football.  The University of Alabama paid Southern Mississippi $1.4 million this year to play a game.  This season the University has played Florida Atlantic and is scheduled to play Western Carolina.  This is money that Alabama is sending to Mississippi, Florida, and North Carolina—not to UAB.

If Blazer football were successful, the University of Alabama would have to compete for recruits and fans.  Alabama is not about ready to let that happen.

A great football team needs a decent stadium

Last year the Alabama Trustees refused to consider building a UAB campus stadium.  Blazer football is never going to be successful at Legion Field and if and when the BJCC builds an indoor football stadium it won’t be on the UAB campus and it will be too large.

College football competition in Alabama is too great

Would you want to start an Internet search firm if you had to compete head to head with Google; or a social media company to compete with Facebook?

UAB is fighting for recruits, fans, and resources with the University of Alabama and Auburn—that is craziness.  And even more perverse, UAB’s destiny is in the hands of the University of Alabama.

Athletic opportunities are greater in soccer and basketball

UAB could succeed big time with soccer and basketball.

Soccer:  UAB is building a new campus soccer facility.  The facility will be named BBVA Compass Field, a decision made by the University Of Alabama System Board Of Trustees in honor of a $1.5 million gift by BBVA Compass.

World Cup (soccer) was wildly popular this year in the U.S. and in Birmingham.  Who would have thought it was possible?  Soccer is coming on like a tidal wave.

Millions of American children are playing soccer and its popularity is growing exponentially.  UAB’s men’s team is currently ranked No. 22 in the nation and UAB has a chance over time to build a dynasty.  (Then maybe UAB can refuse to play Alabama)

Basketball:  Alabama and Auburn aren’t exactly basketball titans.

UAB basketball was once great under Gene Bartow.  Since UAB’s inaugural season, the Blazers have made 14 appearances in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament including three Sweet Sixteen appearances and one Elite Eight appearance.

Men’s basketball showed promise under Mike Anderson a few years back—but soon Coach Anderson was gone.  UAB could be a top tier basketball team given the appropriate attention and resources.

Football tarnishes UAB’s brand

When you hear the name, “UAB,” these words come to mind—“excellence, cutting edge, breakthrough, world leader.”

UAB football would probably be described as—“second tier, minor-league, struggling.”

Thank goodness for UAB

The best thing that ever happened to Birmingham is UAB.  And UAB will continue to make us proud—but probably not in football.

Let’s turn Birmingham around.  Click here to sign up for our newsletter.  There’s power in numbers. (Opt out at any time)

David Sher is the publisher of ComebackTown, a co-founder of Buzz12 Advertising Agency 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).

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6 thoughts on “5 reasons why UAB will pull the plug on UAB football”

  1. If UAB cancels football, we can no longer be in a conference.  A death sentence for football is life-without-parole for all UAB athletics.

  2. UAB is not attempting to compete against Bama. In fact, it’s not about Southside vs. Tuscaloosa. It’s about an autonomous institution that has to sidestep and dodge attacks from a board that is supposed to fairly serve all member institutions. The presence of AU and UA didn’t stop Troy and USA from fielding teams. In today’s college landscape, there is more than enough room for UAB. In fact, there’s a strong argument to make that UAB would be among the P5 schools if the Board didn’t interfere time after time again. The issue isn’t a struggling program. It’s a about a region that would rather point the finger at UAB while ignoring the unethical actions of a board that has weakened a member institution in athletics and, yes, academics as well. As for UAB becoming a basketball only school, good luck. If football is eliminated, C-USA will show them the door. UAB will be forced to find a new home in a lowly conference… the program as we know it today will be done. If there’s a silver (or maybe, gold) lining, it’s that more people (from Bama fans to elected officials) are starting to realize that’s going on and are adding their voices to the effort. This is larger than athletics. This is about the best thing this city and state has going for itself, UAB, finally being able to grow and prosper the way we all know it can. So goes UAB, so goes Birmingham.

  3. *See, I respectfully disagree with this assessment. When UAB put together some decent teams under Watson Brown in the early part of the last decade, they had decent attendance numbers, even managing to pull 33,000 for a Thursday night game against TCU.

    The problem was that the teams quality took a nosedive after 2004, so people stopped coming in the same way Alabama and Auburn don’t sell out their stadiums when they have meltdown seasons. 

    The new coach is showing lots of signs of turning things around. If he manages to have a good team in 2015, I bet you those numbers will go up again. 

  4. Let’s be clear on something: UAB won’t pull the plug on UAB football. The BOT (including all of Paul, Jr.’s cronies) from the University of Alabama will. Listen to Mr. Gordon on this thread. He knows of what he speaks. 

  5. I really don’t have a dog in this fight, except that I have a student there that enjoys the games. 

    If UAB is truly an independent school, cut all ties to UAT.  End their control over your school.  Then do what is right for you, not what is right for UAT.

    What happens (due to Title IX implications) to the women’s sports programs  when the football team is scuttled?

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