Late Tuesday afternoon, University of Alabama Birmingham president Ray Watts made official what everyone associated with the UAB football program feared was going to happen.
He killed the football program.
We've been following this story all week and are still shaking our heads over this. It makes little to no sense.
Before we begin editorializing though, check out this video of Watts meeting with the team to drop the big one:
There are varying reports explaining why the decision was made, though from what we understand and have been told, the decision was made long ago.
One item used by Watts to justify the decision was a consultant report by CarrSports. The report was done to quantify the cost of keeping or eliminating football.
It never looked into the possibility of dropping to the Football Championship Subdivision, a more cost effective route for smaller Division 1 level athletic programs.
It also makes apparent their was little or no effort put forth to try and justify keeping the program.
Al.com's Kevin Scarbinsky explains why the report was a sham RIGHT HERE
It's amazing to us in the Football crazed state of Alabama that you'd have the 1st Football Bowl Subdivision team to kill a football program since 1994.
There are multiple factors at play--and from what we understand a lot of them are political. The Alabama Board of Trustees (oversee colleges), a board run by mostly University of Alabama grads, are largely to blame here. No, they haven't been reported on but it's no secret they've been trying to do this for years.
Sure, President Watts did little to nothing to stand up for his schools program, but it just exposes him as a puppet. The Blazer program was not a "Profit" center like the Crimson Tide or like Auburn. But they are projected to break even this season for the 1st time in years.
Success helps with that. Bill Clark led the Blazers to a 6-6 record and bowl eligibility for the first time in many years. That helps with revenue.
Several members of the booster club had guarantees of over $5 million to upgrade and update the facilities. Yet they killed the program.
The fact of the matter is many smaller D-1 schools in Football don't make a lot of money. It's why cupcake games exist. The payday helps with the bottom line. A lot.
It's done for publicity. It's done for image. It's done to say you are a "Big Time" university.
If you ask us. The blame for what happened is squarely on Paul Bryant Jr and the rest of the trustees who considered the Blazers a threat. Why we don't know. But consider this:
About a decade ago, the offensive coordinator for LSU was looking for head coaching opportunities. And the UAB job was at the time open. The two sides met, hammered out a tentative deal only to have it scuttled by the board.
That offensive coordinator: FSU Head Coach Jimbo Fisher.
We wonder how much the world would be a different place had the board not stuck their noses in and interfered.
Alabama's 13 in Birmingham talked to UAB students after the announcement:
Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL