UAB Football: How we got to today - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

UAB Football: How we got to today


Supporters of the UAB's axed football, rifle and bowling teams are waiting anxiously for an update on the future. President Ray Watts is expected to make a decision by Monday.

A series of events have led to the imminent announcement. Most of them can be traced back to December 2, 2014 when Watts confirmed a growing suspicion among the UAB community.

"The 2014-2015 academic year will be our final year of competition in football,” Watts shared during a press conference that day. He also canceled the rifle and bowling teams.

His decision was based on a feasibility report conducted by Carr Sports that showed those sports cost too much to run.

Opposition and outrage followed Watt's decision. That anger quickly turn into a community effort to bring the programs back. It became commonly known as the ‘Free UAB' movement.

"We want everyone to have the confidence these are verified,” Watts shared at a press conference on January 9, 2015. He announced the creation of a task force committee. The group's job is to hire a firm to review the Carr Sports report.

It was a development that offered a glimmer of hope for many. But was not enough to change minds about Watt's ability to lead. Before the end of the month, the UAB Faculty Senate and the Undergrad Student government association both vote no confidence in Watts.

Fast forward to early March when the new task force selected OSKR to independently look at the feasibility of football, bowling and rifle. Days later, UAB officials shared concerns about potential bias issues with OSKR. The task force went back to the drawing board to select another firm.

On April 6, 2015, the task force announced the hiring of College Sports Solution (CSS) for the job.

April 23, 2015 OSKR releases a report even after being dropped from the job that reportedly calls UAB's decision to cut the sports programs were ill advised.

In May, the UAB football foundation started to raise money to reinstate the three sports. As of Wednesday night the group had raised more than $22 million in pledges.

On May 15, the CSS submitted its final report to the task force. Days later it's made public. While the report does not suggest bringing back football or not, it does insist that football can thrive.

On May 21, UAB officials released a statement saying Watts plans to make a decision by June 1.

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