In a major twist of events, UAB has done an about face and will bring back football, much to the delight of their ardent supporters. The university made it official on Monday.
If you recall, UAB decided to drop the program (along with bowling ad women’s rifle) back in the December, which many thought was a hasty decision. Later, an independent economic consulting firm, OSKR—spearheaded by Dan Rascher and Andy Schwarz—found that UAB was “ill-advised” to drop the program, saying they essentially broke even and were due to make money off the program in the years ahead.
Well, with a groundswell of support (both financially and emotionally), UAB President Ray L. Watts listened to their pleas and made the decision to bring back football while in the process making plenty of people in Birmingham happy.
More from UAB’s athletic website UABSports.com:
“Given the broad base of support never before seen, as of today, we are taking steps to reinstate the football, rifle and bowling programs,” Watts said. “I am forwarding documents to Conference USA and the NCAA notifying them that UAB plans to remain an FBS program and a full member of C-USA.”
UAB, which discontinued football, bowling and rifle in December 2014, was subsidizing the Athletic Department at a rate of $20 million per year, an amount Watts was not willing to increase at the expense of our educational, research and health care missions. In an apples-to-apples comparison, two independent studies were similar, and both identified the need for increased external funding support for operations and facilities.
Fundraising efforts led by a committee of the Athletics Assessment Task Force to fill the funding gap identified by the review brought pledges far exceeding historical financial support and significantly improved the Athletic Department’s financial picture, making the decision to reinstate possible.
The program is coming off a season in which they went 6-6. UAB has not had a winning season since the 2004 season when they participated in the Hawaii Bowl, losing to Hawaii. However, based on the support the football program receives in the Birmingham community, this is a beloved program that got back which should not have been lost in the first place.