BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It's a huge day for the future of UAB Athletics.
A fundraiser aimed at the public for donations to support the football, bowling and rifle teams kicks off at 4 p.m. and will last until 6 p.m. at the UAB Alumni House.
UAB is seeking $2 million by the Sept. 1 deadline, according to a source. The deadline changed last week from Jan. 1 to Sept. 1.
Earlier this year there were $17 million in commitments made, but now the school wants donations.
The administration wants to have money in the budget before the budget year starts Oct. 1. The school is opposed taking any money from the academic side to support athletics.
UAB Boosters along with the UAB Athletic Campaign Committee are seeking money for operations of those athletic programs. The group will also be seeking to raise more money for facilities.
This fundraising event is really a pep rally to get Blazer supporters. It's an effort to get them excited about getting the football and the other programs back.
Vestavia Hills Representative Jack Williams believes there is still pressure from some on the UA System Board of Trustees stop football from coming back.
"I think there are still folks still positions of power that are still not sold on UAB athletics and we are going to have to fight through and meet these goals and not let this go away or let this die," Williams said.
Certainly a key part of the donation campaign will be a new contract for UAB Football Coach Bill Clark. Clark wants to coach the Blazers again.
So far, there has not been an agreement between Clark and Athletic Director Mark Ingram.
The corporate community along with public donations are being sought to support athletics. But a number of UAB supporters are not willing to give money to the program until Clark gets a contract.
Williams said that would make things difficult because the administration may want to see donations coming in to support the contract for Clark and his coaches.
One UAB employee and supporter plans to wait on the contract for Clark.
"Clark is absolutely key to making the football program a success at UAB. Not giving him a contract and getting rid of him will destroy a lot of goodwill and a lot of good faith." Larry Powell said.
Williams said every time UAB meets a goal the bar is changed. Even so, Williams believes the Birmingham business community and UAB supporters want to see football and the other athletic programs succeed.