Staff Report

Students rally for Free UAB movement.Students rally for Free UAB movement (Photo by Cooper Crippen).Sunday afternoon, just one day after the UAB football team earned its bowl eligibility by defeating Southern Mississippi 45-24, word was released that the UAB football program could be nearing an end.

Sunday afternoon, just one day after the UAB football team earned its bowl eligibility by defeating Southern Mississippi 45-24, word was released that the UAB football program could be nearing an end.

According to ESPN reporter Joe Schad, Head Coach Bill Clark said that the program could possibly be shut down by the end of the week. “I think it’s going to happen,” said Clark. “Unless something changes before the weekend ends, I think it’s over.” Clark later sent out a Tweet saying “Contrary to news, We haven’t heard any decision about our program. We are still fighting!”

According to USA Today Sports, there is no known back up plan for UAB’s other teams, but it certainly brings about questions regarding their future. In addition, there are many student activities that support the football team at their games, including the marching band with auxiliary and cheerleaders.

The average number of people at UAB’s six home football games this season was 21,841 people (ESPN.com). That’s 4,967 more people than UAB’s current student body.

ESPN reported that by dropping Blazer football, UAB would be required to leave Conference USA in other sports, including basketball. The Blazer basketball teams are scheduled to host the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments this spring.

According to the Office of Postsecondary education, there are currently 371 athletes participating in UAB sports teams. Of that 371, 112 are football players. Overall, only 157 are women and 214 are men. If UAB cuts football, it leaves women’s sports without hope for future growth or scholarships.

People fighting for Blazer football to be diminished are forgetting that for some people, athletic scholarships are the only way they can afford to go to college. According to USA Today, UAB awarded $6,161,702 in athletic scholarships in 2013.

It’s a college’s responsibly to provide their students with an education. UAB’s new branding prides itself on being the source of knowledge that will change your world, but it’s threatening to take that away from student athletes by threatening students’ financial situations.

It is an act of brutality to take away someone’s education.

Would the Board of Trustees really shut the program down before UAB has a chance to play in a bowl game? Of course. Without a strong sports program, the Board can simply use UAB as the medical extension of the University of Alabama (UA).

UAB’s economic impact on Alabama for 2013 exceeded $5 billion (uab.edu/impact). In the same year, UA’s impact was just over $2 billion (cber.cba.ua.edu).

With a larger presence in every collegiate aspect, UA’s numbers don’t match up to their size and their ego.

USA Today reported that UA football Coach Nick Saban will make $6.9 million a year for the next eight seasons under a pay package that was unanimously approved by the BOT. That $6.9 million is still less than what UAB generates for the state of Alabama in one week (which, according to uab.edu/impact, is $96.1 million if you’re curious).

UA may dominate the Board, but UAB contributes the most to the state of Alabama and creates more jobs than UA and the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) combined. UAB supports more than 61,000 jobs; UA offers 11,900 jobs; and UAH sustains 7,773 jobs (uasystem.ua.edu/initiatives/economic-impact).

The Board needs to recognize UAB as a powerful force and vital aspect of the UA school system.

The trending #FreeUAB needs to stand as our battle cry.
freeuab
Free UAB from the Board to establish our own Board focused on our own needs. Free UAB from the allegations that our sports teams are useless and drain money. Free UAB from the shadow of UA. Free UAB from administration that isn’t student-focused.
There is a USGA Town Hall meeting tonight, Dec. 6, in the Blazer RLC at 6 p.m. to allow students to express their concerns about the reported decision to end UAB football. Come show your support for all of UAB athletics and let the administration know that the community is willing to fight for this.