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U Alabama at Birminghma Likely to Abandon FBS Football

LakeWashingtonLakeWashington Registered User Posts: 9,299 Senior Member
I guess the 20-year experiment is over. UAB is a very good life sciences university. Creating a top tier basketball program 30 years ago raised the school's profile a bit. But being in the state of Alabama, football is king and UAB could never realistically hope to come close to U Alabama-Tuscaloosa or Auburn U when it comes to football. Should it keep trying, or simply close the football program?

Replies to: U Alabama at Birminghma Likely to Abandon FBS Football

  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,077 Forum Champion
    Well, it's probably never could approach the success of Bama or Auburn, but UAB is bowl-eligible this year.

    There are several other schools in the state that field football teams.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 71,657 Senior Member
    Would it be correct to assume that UAB football is a money loser, unlike some the better known college football teams?
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,077 Forum Champion
    Not sure if they are a money-loser or just cover their costs. An issue will be that if UAB stops fielding a team, then likely 2-3 girls teams will disappear because they only exist there because of Title 9.

    Like I said, the state of Alabama has several other college football teams. They're not well-known like the Crimson Tide or the auburn Tigers. They're probably not profitable either. I think UNA, USA, AL A&M, Troy and JSU all also have football teams. There may be others.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 19,326 Senior Member
    The school doesn't have to lose women's teams. It is not a 1 for 1 with title IX. The school might decide to offer fewer scholarships on some women's teams or just have more women's scholarships than mens. It happens. I disagree that women's teams ONLY exist because of Title IX; some schools actually like women's teams!
  • Gator88NEGator88NE Registered User Posts: 6,215 Senior Member
    A much better article on the subject:


    It looks like the Alabama board of trustees has been trying to kill the program for years.
    "I think there are members of the board who want to see this program end before it generates so much momentum that it's more difficult, if not impossible, to get rid of," Williams said. "I think Paul Bryant Jr. is the most powerful member of the board so I think it starts there."
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,077 Forum Champion
    or just have more women's scholarships than mens. It happens. I disagree that women's teams ONLY exist because of Title IX; some schools actually like women's teams!

    I think that if a school has 50/50 gender balance than the number of full scholarships has to be the same... (some can be split scholarships), but I think the total full scholarships has to be the same.

    No one is saying that women's sports wouldn't exist at all w/o Title IX...and no one is saying that schools don't like women's teams. My kids' undergrad surely loves some of its women's teams ~ gymnastics and softball, in particular. And it just built a super-fab boathouse for its women's crew team.

    But, the fact remains that women's teams are money-losers to schools and if a school gets rid of a money-making or neutral mens' team, then likely some women's scholarships will be on the chopping block as well. Fielding teams is extremely expensive. There aren't just scholarships to consider....practice, training, and game venues are expensive to maintain, uniform gear is very pricey and some teams get new uniforms for every game, travel costs are pricey (getting people and equipment to Away games), coaches' salaries, and so forth.

    If Alabama (not UAB) ever lost the Crimson Tide football team, which funds EVERY team, EVERY coach, ALL uniforms, ALL equipment, ALL sports scholarships, ALL travel, ALL practice, training, and game venues.....then the entire sports program would collapse.
  • arabrabarabrab Registered User Posts: 5,961 Senior Member
    Most college football teams lose money. A relative handful (like Alabama) make money.

    If you include costs of stadiums, even more lose money. College sports accounting has a long and honored tradition of carefully capturing all the revenues, and conveniently ignoring many of the costs.
  • LakeWashingtonLakeWashington Registered User Posts: 9,299 Senior Member
    Gator88NE, thanks for the link. That article is much more in depth; provides more background on the issue.

    UAB might be able to make a go of it, a la Boise State, but fan enthusiasm is critical for such a program to succeed. Also, the article seems to indicate that the leadership of UAB is not crazy about FBS football.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,077 Forum Champion
    I wonder if those who are opposed to UAB football just think that with Alabama an hour to west and Auburn an hour away in the other direction, that they just can't ever get the fan-base they would need to really support the team.

    I know that many UAB students travel to Tuscaloosa to attend games, and likely the same for some going to Auburn games.

    Another thought....the Trustees, such The Bear's son, probably thinks that UAB could drain some big donor support away from Bama. Always follow the money trail.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 19,326 Senior Member

    The spending doesn't have to be even, and it is very unlikely UAB football is paying for itself, never mind the other sports. My daughter goes to a school that has a lot of sports, and none of them are moneymakers. It is a cost the school has decided is worth it to the school, to attract good athletes and students, to entertain the students and provide healthy activities. In fact, there is very little revenue to the school as all students can attend all sporting events for free. Sort of like high school.

    My other daughter plays club sports at her school. Hockey is about $300/yr (much less than I paid for her to play in high school) and the school has to be subsidizing the team as that wouldn't even pay for ice practice time and the teams travels 2-3 hours by school van a few times a month. It is a D-1 school (also with free admission for students to all sports events) but I'd be surprised if the football team covers its own expenses. Stadium is probably a WPA project from the '30s, they travel to at lease a few conference rivals by bus, and don't have a coach who is paid more than the college president, but a football team is still expensive so there isn't extra to fund other teams.

    There are a few schools that do okay with non-football sports, but again they probably just pay for themselves or at least lose less than other teams. DU has good, nationally competitive hockey, lacrosse, and gymnastics teams, but I'm sure the school is still paying some of their expenses as travel is expensive, even for swimmers who don't have to check those big equipment bags at $25/each!
  • LucieTheLakieLucieTheLakie Registered User Posts: 4,000 Senior Member
    Gov. Robert Bentley said today he wanted to learn more about concerns over the future of UAB football and said this season was cause for optimism for the program...

    Asked if he planned to get actively involved in deciding the program's future, Bentley said he had not decided.

    "But that is a decision that the Board of Trustees makes, and I am the chairman of the Board of Trustees and I always want people to remember that," the governor said..

  • irlandaiseirlandaise Registered User Posts: 720 Member
    Having lived in Birmingham at one time, it definitely has a big fan-base in the city. Birmingham, until it's passed up by Montgomery, has the biggest population of any city in the state. More-so when the greater metropolitan area is considered. The football facilities at UAB are 'shabby', so it's no surprise the program isn't successful. But that's to be expected; besides Bama and Auburn, there aren't really any other football programs that make money. And, theoretically, the purpose of having a football team goes beyond direct profits - they provide incentives for alumni, foster school spirit, and unite the city.
    The water color gossip among the AU, UA, and UAB students I know is that the BoT has decided to - unfairly - cut the program to direct funds to UA's football team instead. Wouldn't surprise me, the BoT has been called beyond corrupt more times than I can remember.
    However, the students and surrounding community aren't letting this go down without a fight. There have been a few rallies the past week or so downtown, and #FreeUAB has been trending on Twitter in B'ham. I can admire their resilience.

    [Also, y'all, it's not UAT or UA-Tuscaloosa, it's just UA]
  • LucieTheLakieLucieTheLakie Registered User Posts: 4,000 Senior Member
    Sadly, it's now official:
    The University of Alabama-Birmingham said Tuesday that it was terminating its football program, the first university in the top tier of college sports to do so in nearly 20 years and the most visible sign yet that athletic officials throughout the country are considering radical options in the face of mounting financial burdens ...

    Officials for Alabama-Birmingham, which recently finished its regular season with a 6-6 record and is eligible to play in a bowl game, said the program was not financially viable. The athletic department reported a $17.5 million deficit in 2012-13.

  • Gator88NEGator88NE Registered User Posts: 6,215 Senior Member
    edited December 2014
    The band played, tears flowed, and football died Tuesday at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It was 24 years old. Cause of death: Lack of investment, fiscal responsibility or political pettiness, depending on which obituary you read.

    The rifle and bowling teams got buried, too. They got caught in the crossfire of UAB's decision to become the first university to drop a Football Bowl Subdivision/Division I football program since Pacific in 1995.

    And to the question that UAB may cut women's sports(scholarships) due to the lost of football...
    Rifle and bowling got caught in the football crossfire. UAB projected those sports to cost $400,000 to $600,000 combined in future years. Even Watts acknowledged they got added simply for Title IX purposes so there would be proportionality between men's and women's sports. The athletic department determined rifle and bowling weren't priorities, Watts said.

    Division I membership without football requires a minimum of 14 sports (eight women's and six men's teams), compared to 18 with football. UAB is down to five men's sports without football. Carr's report recommended UAB add men's cross country and track and field to maintain Division I requirements.
  • LucieTheLakieLucieTheLakie Registered User Posts: 4,000 Senior Member
    "After U.A.B. Program’s Death, Outcry Raises the Possibility of a Quick Resurrection"
    In the turbulent weeks since the University of Alabama at Birmingham announced that it would shutter its Division I football program, rallies and protests have erupted on campus, powerful donors have threatened to withhold their support, and the faculty senate approved a resolution of no confidence in President Ray L. Watts’s ability to lead the university.

    The message was delivered: Football is a serious matter in Alabama. And up against a wave of opposition, Watts and U.A.B. have cracked open the door for a potential reinstatement of the football program in 2016.

This discussion has been closed.