This isn’t Big 12 news, but it is pretty incredible football news, so why not talk about it? It was announced Monday evening by UAB presiden Dr. Ray Watts that football will be reinstated along with Women’s rifle and bowling.
“Given the broad base of support never before seen, as of today, we are taking steps to reinstate the football, rifle and bowling programs,” University president Dr. Ray 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.”
As you no doubt already know (but just in case I’ll point it out anyway), UAB shut down the athletic programs in December of last year amongst reports that they were not financially viable for the school.
Monday’s announcement is a seemingly an about-face considering just last month UAB officials reaffirmed the football would not be returning after a report in April (by a company UAB originally hired to do, then called off the deal, but the company decided to finish it anyway) found that the three sports would break even financially, and may even be profitable.
The announcement paves the way for football to return by as early as the 2016 season, but there are some obstacles yet to overcome. The biggest issue looming is that funds need to be raised to upgrade UAB’s facilities or subsidize a new stadium. That money will have to come from donations, and with help from the city of Birmingham, AL.
Another major issue is actually being able to field a team. The NCAA lifted transfer restrictions for the players when the shutdown of the program was announced last year, and many players are no longer at the school. Furthermore, they’ve not been recruiting either.
“It’s like SMU. We got the death penalty without any NCAA violations,” UAB tight end Brandon Prince is quoted as saying after the announcement of the shutdown of the program.
Essentially he’s right. UAB officials essentially self-imposed the death penalty for no apparent reason. When the Blazers are able to play again will largely depend on when they’re able to field a team. For now though, it’s good news, and we should all just be happy that they’ve finally come to their senses.