The following is a commentary blog from FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
I was just thinking about what a wild few weeks it's about to be on the UAB campus. By next Monday we are expecting an official announcement from UAB President Dr. Ray Watts on the future of the football team.
What will follow will be crazy regardless of which way Watts goes. Either we will follow the celebration of UAB football fans and attempt to get a handle on how football will be brought back, or we will be following some very upset athletes, students and boosters in what could be a testy time on the Southside. Oh, and on June 13? Bartow Arena will turn into the MGM Grand (well, kind of) as WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder will face Eric Molina in the first-ever heavyweight title defense in our state.
Now to the big question: How long will we be seeing both Molina and Watts on the UAB campus?
First a caveat to Dr. Watts, who has done a remarkable job on the medicinal side of the campus. The 61-year-old Birmingham native graduated from UAB back in 1976, and his resume? It's jam-packed with past and present titles such as Dean of the School Of Medicine, Chairman of The Department of Neurology, and President of the Alabama Health Services Foundation. This guy is smarter than most of us with half his brain tied behind his back. But for a man who has done wonders in helping prolong life, Dr. Ray Watts may soon be known for making sure that UAB football remains dead.
Will the UAB president announce that football is coming back? I certainly hope so, but if he instead announces that football is officially a no-go, I'm wondering how long he lasts as UAB's president. I'm here to tell you the UAB football nation is loud and proud, and like a good guard dog, they will stay alert and finish the job. If you think Blazer football fans have been vocal since early December, just wait until Monday to see what goes down if they don't receive the news they are seeking.
While Watts has helped UAB grow in many ways, he may forever be remembered as the man that killed football...twice. Alex Rodriguez is a tremendous baseball talent, yet will be remembered most as the many who used steroids. Tonya Harding was a great skater but will be remembered for helping to order up a hit on Nancy Kerrigan. President Bill Clinton had it going as our nation's leader yet will never be able to shake the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Dr. Watts is in the same boat, and come Monday (depending on what he announces) that boat could resemble the Titanic.
Oh, and Eric Molina? It's likely that he will last about four rounds against Deontay Wilder (yes, many UAB football fans would love to see Ray Watts face Wilder, but I don't think that's going to happen). Bottom line? Molina will be rudely ushered off the UAB campus after a Deontay Wilder beat down. Should Watts announce that football remains dead, will he soon be on his way out? One prominent UAB booster tells me, "I'll give him three months and he will take his retirement package and run."
Here's hoping that Watts orders up the restoration of football. But if he doesn't? The UAB president will have his work cut out mending fences in the UAB community. Can that be done for the sake of a great university I certainly hope so, but I will say this. Dr. Ray Watts will face the toughest task he's ever had, and the best medicine he can prescribe is a heaping dose of humility and people skills, something that I haven't seen in months.
Hang on, as it's going to be wild few weeks. What do you think? Hit me up in Twitter and Facebook as I always enjoy hearing from you.