Should UAB restart their football program?

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s time for our weekly college football roundtable at The Student Section. TSS Associate Editors Bart Doan and Terry Johnson join Kevin Causey and a rotating guest in our weekly roundtables discussing all things college football.

Last week we discussed college football rules we would like to change and which college football rivalries we would re-start. Joining us today for our morning discussion is Doug Hazard of Two Cents Radio.

Question: Should UAB restart it’s football program?

Doug Hazard:

On Twitter @BearlyDoug:

Talk about an absolute FIRESTORM of a question; one that is captivating fans of the UAB Blazer nation and has even garnered national media attention. I’m not certain that I can accurately convey my thoughts in just two or three paragraphs here. The level of outright deception by President Ray Watts and the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees (“UA BoT”) has reached such a roaring crescendo at this time, I don’t think there’s anything that will silence the UAB fan base right now, short of a 100% restoration of Collegiate Football, Bowling and Rifle programs.

Short answer this: An unequivocal and emphatic YES! All three programs MUST be restored.

The decision to shutter these three programs was based off a very biased and 100% inaccurate “investigative audit”, where pressure was brought to bear by the UA BoT, and in particular, Paul Bryant, Jr., as well as President Watts. A second subsequent study/audit was performed that was very pro-restoration of these three programs. In my opinion, a THIRD audit needs to be performed by a truly independent third party entity/organization, without any extraneous influences of either side of this issue.

I don’t have the exact numbers, however, fans and supporters towards the restoration of these programs have committed/raised over $19m dollars… by some estimates, as much as $30m has been committed over the next 5 years… far more than the estimated $5m/year the original report cited that the UAB Athletics program was losing.

The ramifications of not restoring these three programs will result in a forced removal from Conference USA (as per their bylaws, which requires CFB in order to remain a member) and more than likely, a downgrade to a non CFB DI program, which will result in loss of revenue (C-USA money vs someone like Atlantic 10 money), Television exposure, higher travel expenses, probably a gradual reduction in the caliber of recruits for other programs.

Why don’t we ask Sewanee about how well they fared after dropping CFB. Ask Tulane about having to drop down from the SEC. Georgia Tech, as well. Tulane is still trying to recover from the decision to drop down (drastically). Sewanee has never fully recovered and is now a DIII school (after being an SEC school). GT is doing fair, but not as well as they could’ve been, had they stayed in the SEC.

The fans, the Birmingham City Council, several hundreds of businesses have all banded together to raise funds and to make a commitment to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The loss of revenue from their primary financial sport(s) could very well have a chain reaction effect towards other businesses based in the area (Gee, isn’t the SEC head office in Birmingham, as well)?

It’s time to step up, take a stand and tell The UA BoT and Ray Watts that all three programs MUST be restored… in time for the 2016-17 Athletics season.

Bart Doan:

On Twitter @TheCoachBart

Years ago I was talking to an elderly man who was lamenting on a lifetime of crappy decision making. He said he wished he could turn it around now, but it was too late. Not that I have any business giving advice to my elders, I explained to the poor dude that it was never too late to make amends and at least try. It would be a lot better than just resigning yourself to failure and complaining about it.

So that’s one school of thought here as Ray Watts decides what to do with the UAB football program not even a calendar year after it was abolished. Even though that maybe this could have all been avoided by not making the decision in the first place, it’s never too late to go back because on the surface, a lot of young men who otherwise would not be helped in the Alabama area with a potential college scholarship could potentially get one to play football there.

The other side of it is the real financial side of it, and while it all looks good on the outside to want UAB football back and rail against the injustice of it ending in the first place, the bills still need to be paid. Anyone with 15 minutes in a high school economic class knows that just because you get a bunch of money for your birthday and have a groundswell (relatively speaking) to do whatever you want in the short term doesn’t mean you’ll always have that kind of spending loot.

So if UAB has the money raised to get it back started, that’s great, but Watts will need a long-term solution that doesn’t see the threat of losing the program to get consistent funding flowing in. Everyone wants the white picket fence and nice house, but the problem arises when they start sending you the bills every month. Would it be nice to see UAB back? Heck yes. But with that comes the reality of fiscal responsibility and long-term planning to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Kevin Causey:

On Twitter @CFBZ

Without a doubt, the UAB program should not have been shutdown. The “work” that was done to prove that the program should be shutdown was obviously biased and self-serving.

The first thing that should be done is everybody who had anything to do with the information given saying the program should be shut down….should be fired. Period.

Now, the big question is should the program be started back up? That’s a tough one because if the UAB program is brought back it is going to have to be brought back from square one. It’s almost as if they would be dealing with a situation like SMU’s death penalty or Georgia State’s building a program from scratch. Is there a proper support system in place if the program is brought back? If the cancer is not taken out, i.e. the responsible people fired, then they will just be set up to fail again.

If all of the people with self-serving agendas are removed from power then yes, the UAB football program should be restarted. But, it would be a slow build and ultimately will probably cost UAB more in the long run.

As a college football fan it’s sad to see what has been done to the UAB program. They should be allowed to rebuild their program but it would be a long, hard journey.

Terry Johnson:

On Twitter @SectionTPJ

My gut reaction was to say that UAB should not be allowed to return to the Football Bowl Subdivision – ever. By preventing the Blazers from playing at college football’s highest level, a school would have to think twice before dropping its program, knowing that the decision to fold would be an irreversible one. Hopefully, the thought of losing millions of dollars in revenue would prevent a UAB-like tragedy from happening to anyone else in the future.

However, after thinking about it some more, it wouldn’t be wise to make an example out of UAB, since the school dropped its program based on what appears to be bad intel. After all, the university decided to get rid of football because of budget concerns. However, a recent study from OKSR – funded completely by UAB football boosters – concluded that the program would actually make money.

If anything on campus is generating a budget *surplus*, is there any legitimate reason to shut it down?

Of course not, which is why I’d like to see the UAB football program reinstated effective immediately. The more revenue the school can generate, the better off every student – athletes and non-athletes alike – will be.


Previous Roundtables

Which returning starter at QB will show the most improvement in 2015?

Which first year starter at QB is poised to have a breakout season?

Which non-Power 5 QB do you want as the face of your franchise?

Which Power 5 quarterback do you want as the face of your franchise?

If you could have attended any game in the history of college football what would it be?

Reliving our favorite college football memories

Who was the greatest team in the history of college football?

Who was the most underrated team in college football history?

In a one-game scenario, which college football coach would you turn to for a win?

Which coach would you turn to if building a program from scratch?

Which teams have the best QB groups heading into 2015?

What will make 2015 a successful season for Notre Dame?

Where should Braxton Miller play in 2015?

Changes we would make to CFB Playoff Committee

Who will the media vilify in 2015?

Which college football conference will be the best in 2015?

Should conference’s be allowed multiple bids in CFB Playoffs?

Which college football rivalry should be re-started?

Which college football rules should be changed?