UAB is having a tough season. They started 0-6 and are currently 1-7. They are currently 116th in scoring offense and 112th in scoring defense.
But, as hard as this might be to believe, they might have suffered their most important loss yesterday, off the field.
For years UAB has been working to get approval from both the community and more importantly from the Alabama System Board of Trustees to build a new stadium (and all the amenities) on campus. They got the community buy in, selling out all 27 of the planned luxury suites; but yesterday failed in their attempt to sway the Board of Trustees.
Steve Irvine of the Birmingham News wrote an article outlining UAB's request to build an on campus , 30,000 seat, football stadium. The Blazers currently play their home games off campus at Legion Field.
The Alabama System board of Trustees (which sits in Tuscaloosa and also oversees the flagship University of Alabama...yes, where Nick Saban coaches the Tide) turned down the proposal citing lack of fan support and funding for the $75 million proposed project.
The proposal included 27 individual donors or corporations that made a commitment to lease a suite at the stadium for $100,000 over 5 years.
Longtime UAB supporter Luc Frenette said "It's the chicken and the egg, how do we know how good we can be if you don't build the stadium?". A very frustrated Frenette had far more colorful things to say. You can read the full version including Frenette's take on how badly the current facilities impact recruiting and the coaching staff here. It's not a flattering picture.
UAB has only had two winning seasons since moving to the FBS as an independent in 1996 (7-4 in 2000 and 7-5 in 2004). The highest attendance this season was against Mississippi State (just over 28,000) and the attendance for that game ranks #377 of all 531 games played this season.
Losing out on the new stadium is a tough loss for Coach Callaway and the entire UAB program.