UAB administration encourages flexibility, attendance at C-USA Tournament game noon Thursday

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jerod haase 2016Men’s Basketball Coach Jerod Haase

As the regular-season Conference USA champion and No. 1 seed in the C-USA Tournament in Birmingham March 8-12, UAB Men’s Basketball will play at noon March 10 at Legacy Arena.

UAB President Ray Watts and Provost Linda Lucas recognize that many students, faculty and staff will want to cheer on the Blazers at their noon game Thursday, which may conflict with class and work schedules.

“Supporting our teams and events like these are important to our community and UAB,” Watts said. “The 2015 C-USA Tournament brought an estimated $8 million to the local economy, and winning the tournament propelled our men’s team to the NCAA Tournament and great attention. Because campus support is important, supervisors and faculty may be flexible with work and class schedules this week within reason.”

Lucas says she plans to attend the game, and that supervisors and faculty — who best know their respective responsibilities and goals — are empowered to use their discretion, keeping in mind important considerations.

“We sometimes employ nontraditional methods of learning or alter class and work schedules to achieve goals while working around a special educational opportunity, bad weather or to support an institutional or school priority,” Lucas said. “If supervisors and faculty members can be flexible this week and allow game attendance, alternative arrangements should be made to achieve work and class goals. Student success is our top priority.”

UAB Human Resources has outlined the following guidance for supervisors, as the potential for many employees requesting up to three hours away from work may cause challenges:

  • Supervisors may approve a time-off request for an employee to attend the game if the time away will have a minimal impact on the workplace.
  • If the employee is non-exempt (biweekly paid), the employee may either use benefit time or offset the time away by working an equivalent amount of time during the same work week.
  • The supervisor may also determine that exempt (monthly paid) employees should work the equivalent time away, but exempt employees — in accordance with FLSA regulations — should not be required to use benefit time if the time away is less than a half day.
  • There should also be a clear understanding between the supervisor and employee as to whether or not the employee is expected to return to work after the game. If the employee is not expected to return, the above guidelines regarding time away still apply.

As faculty and supervisors are being asked to consider flexibility responsibly, employees and students are asked to respect and abide by decisions made in the best interest of UAB and student success.

“It will not be possible for each request to alter a class or work schedule to be granted,” Watts said. “This institution has a great responsibility to carry out our important mission. If you are not able to attend the first game, please take advantage of other opportunities you have to support our teams.”

In addition to the campus, UAB is calling for support from the broader community, asking local employers to recognize the significance of the C-USA Tournament and its implications for UAB and Birmingham.

Director of Athletics Mark Ingram and Men’s Basketball Coach Jerod Haase issued a tongue-in-cheek excuse note requesting that employers excuse their employees’ long lunch breaks at Legacy Arena March 10 to help create a home-court advantage for the Blazers.

“We have won 28 straight games in Birmingham thanks in large part to the home-court advantage our fans have provided at Bartow and in last year’s C-USA Tournament,” Haase said. “Our players and coaches thank everyone for their support, from the students to the faculty and staff, the administration and the community at large. We are working to make Birmingham proud and can’t succeed without you.”

Several campus entities are partnering to purchase tickets that will be made available to students with a valid Blazer ID on a first-come, first-served basis for UAB Women’s and Men’s respective games Wednesday at Bartow Arena and Thursday at Legacy Arena. Tickets can be picked up on the day of the event. Tickets for Bartow Arena games can be picked up at the Bartow box office. Tickets for Legacy Arena games can be picked up at a table staffed by Undergraduate Student Government Association representatives outside the Legacy box office.

UAB Athletics is sponsoring round trip Legacy Arena Blazer Express bus service picking up from the Hill Student Center at the corner of Seventh Avenue and 14th Street South beginning 10 a.m. Thursday, prior to the Blazer men’s noon tipoff. Shuttle service for fans will run throughout the game until 3 p.m. Riders will be dropped off and picked up at the area outside the box office at Legacy Arena. Gates open one hour prior to tip off each day. Early arrival is recommended for access to tickets and transportation. The UAB Bookstore at the Hill Student Center is holding a special promotion in honor of the Blazers playing in the C-USA Tournament, offering 25 percent off one UAB-branded apparel item.

Single-game tickets for the 2016 Conference USA Tournament are now available for purchase. Tickets will be available by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or available by visiting the Legacy Arena central ticket office in person.

The first 1,000 ticketed fans into Legacy Arena Thursday for session four will receive a $5 voucher that can be redeemed at any concession stand in the arena. The coupon can only be used during session four.