UAB reviving football program months after killing it
UAB leaders announced today that football — along with the bowling and rifle teams — will be revived in 2016. The university made the decision to drop the three sports last year due to what it characterized as a financial crisis that would only get worse if funding for the programs continued. The school commissioned a study to re-examine the sports’ impact on the athletic department’s finances before announcing today the programs would return.From ESPN.com:
A second report released last month from College Sports Solutions, commissioned by UAB, concluded that reinstating the three programs and continuing on without them were both “viable options.” The report said the school would operate on an annual $3.165 million deficit if it brought back the programs but noted that a return would “foster much goodwill and stimulate a substantial amount of spiritual and financial support from alumni, donors, ticket holders, friends, students, faculty and the community” in addition to “positive national attention to the University.”
Justin Craft, a former UAB football player and chair of the UAB Athletics Assessment Task Force, said more than $27 million had been raised to make up for the deficit, including a $7.5 million gift contingent on UAB building a stadium on campus. In all, he said the word of mouth fundraising brought in more than 600 pledges.
The Birmingham City Council announced it would make a $2.5 million pledge ($500,000 per year for five years) and the UAB Undergraduate Student Government Association would make a $550,000 pledge if the school brought the football, women’s bowling and rifle programs back.
Conference USA bylaws mandate that member schools have FBS-level football programs. Without one, the article noted that UAB would be kicked out of the conference in 2016, losing a reported $2 million per year.
Click here to read the complete report from ESPN.