Call BAMA ‘UAT’—Join the witness protection program

University of AlabamaI wrote a piece doubting the longevity of UAB Football, a young Auburn student wrote a rebuttal, and all hell broke loose on the Internet.

I expected some push back—but it didn’t come from where I expected.

Sher hates UAB & Birmingham

In my defense, I am pro UAB and Birmingham, but some commenters didn’t think so.

“What a convoluted, illogical, irrelevant opinion by Sher. And this man is supposed to be singing the praises of The Comeback Town?…What a conceited jerk.”

“I’ve enjoyed many of David Sher’s articles in the past but I’ve lost a lot of respect for him… Instead of writing on behalf of UAB and Birmingham…he is backtracking here with a crimson pom pom in his back pocket.”

Soccer no replacement for football

Then there were those folks who got upset because they thought I was promoting soccer over football.

“A lot of people, especially in the USA, don’t give a rat’s tail about soccer”

Apathetic reaction of BAMA fans

The initial reaction by Alabama fans was about what I expected.  Bama fans don’t seem to care one way or another about Blazer football.

“I am associated with Bama and don’t know a single person who has ‘an unnatural hatred for UAB.’  Honestly, we couldn’t care less.”

“I don’t know of a single Bama fan who ‘hates UAB.’  UAB football never crosses my mind unless I see these articles online.”

Try calling UA ‘UAT’

The Auburn student in his rebuttal piece inadvertently called UA ‘UAT,’ and that’s when BAMA supporters went ballistic.  He was making a case for Birmingham and UAB football and had no intent to diminish the University of Alabama–he was just trying to do a good deed– but the reaction was ugly.

“Perhaps the writer and his friends could make better progress by laying off the ‘UAT’ crap. There are a lot of UA fans and graduates who want UAB to be a success but are turned off by the childish whining.”

“UAT is what trailer Auburn people call Alabama, much like Barner is what trailer Alabama people call Auburn.”

But this is the very essence of the problem with UAB and the University of Alabama.

Why is the University of Alabama the ‘real’ Alabama and UAB a step child?

The primary reason that I and others feel UAB football won’t survive is because of lack of support by the Board of Trustees of Alabama.  Twelve of the 15 Trustees are Alabama grads; 2 from UAB; and none from UAH.

The University of Alabama controls the fortunes of UAB football.  There’s no way UAB football can survive when UA doesn’t want it to.

Editor’s note:  Congratulations to Coach Bill Clark and the UAB football team for a valiant effort against Marshall–imagine the possibilities if UAB controlled its own destiny.

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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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5 thoughts on “Call BAMA ‘UAT’—Join the witness protection program”

  1. David, perhaps you just don’t know the history.

    “UAT” has been a pejorative lobbied against the University of Alabama for quite some time now. I first heard it, actually, from Tennessee fans. It is not meant as a subtle elbow between friends, trust me.

    There are many states that have a original chartered university, and later planted perfectly functional campuses in other cities. The University of California is in Berkeley. It is UC, never referred to as UCB. The University of Texas is UT, even though it is in Austin. The existence of Texas-San Antonio does not suddenly grant one license to order a stylebook change to “Texas-Austin.” When the NCAA announces bids to the basketball tournament, the inclusion of Wisconsin-Green Bay did not change the Big Ten’s representative from Wisconsin to Wisconsin-Madison.

    Focus on the dragons worth saving to blaze new trails, and not on the dragons that don’t exist.

  2. UAB isn’t the stepchild, as you suggest. It is, however, not the grandfather either. 

    UAB is a fine school with many well respected programs. So is UA. Many (if not most) UA grads wish UAB well and I know of none who consider it a rival. 

    The other commenter made a good point. Pick your battles. Many UA grads also support UAB. Insulting them doesn’t help you make your point. 

    1. William, I’m a UA graduate and proud of my University. However it’s clear to me that UA doesn’t want UAB to be successful in football because of potential competiton for athletes. Their actions make it clear: No Jimbo Fisher, no on-campus stadium, not playing UAB on the field; and their current analysis to evaluate if Blazer Football is worth keeping. The fortunes of Birmingham are much more dependent on UAB than UA. I’m going to assume that gnerous UAB & UA supporters are wise enough to see the big picture and wouldn’t let this disucssion negatively impact giving.

  3. David, I think this is another great post. I am a lifetime Auburn fan – I attended UAB. I have great respect for Alabama as a school and for their athletic programs. The first time I heard about UAB football being cancelled I began referring to UA as UAT. This was mostly in humor but it was also a dig at the UA BOT for not only wanting to kill UAB football but for their lack of support for UAB.

    As you correctly pointed out their failures include not approving the hiring of Jimbo Fisher or Pat Sullivan, failure to build an on-campus stadium, and failure to schedule UAB in either football or basketball. Some people talk about lack of attendance but imagine UAB football being successful with a winning program – an on-campus stadium selling out – a winning coach (Jimbo Fisher, Pat Sullivan, Bill Clark) – and the program would have a great chance of becoming self-sustaining.

    They claim they could not afford to keep the program competitive. Yet there is a campaign to raise $1 Billion dollars for UAB – surely they could have raised $10 million per year for UAB athletics. Heck, UA athletics could have donated that much without making a dent in their cash reserves. Imagine the respect they would have gained with a generous donation – or scheduling UAB in both football and basketball every year.

    I think this decision gives the entire UA system a black eye and harms the city of Birmingham. 

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