The program was the biggest casualty of the schools restructuring of its athletic department. UABs athletic department operates on a $30 million budget, $20 million of which is said to be subsidized. The school expects football expenses to grow exponentially in the upcoming seasons while the programs revenue remains insignificant.
The idea is that by eliminating the sinking deficit football brings, UAB can direct funds toward sports in which UAB can actually be competitive within their conference and division. UAB football has posted poor records for the past 10 seasons, but Bill Clark was hired as head coach at the beginning of the season and led them to bowl eligibility.
UAB says they “honor players’ scholarships and coaches’ contracts,” but for many young men who came to the school to follow their football dreams, the program’s shuttering severely damages their career trajectory. UAB mentions that “NCAA bylaws, players who transfer from a discontinued program can play immediately at another school,” but the act of finding a new team, especially for upperclassmen, poses unexpected challenges.
Conference USA also requires its member schools to have a football program. UAB reportedly does not have enough support from other schools to act as an exception. Athletes whose sport was not cut now face the uncertainty of their team changing conference and level of competition.
This uncertainty has led students to fear the worst for their school. A student told BuzzFeed News that they fear the school will be less appealing to recruits without a football program, and that will eventually lead to repercussions for other undergrad programs. As a result, UAB students are protesting the school’s decision. Read more…