UAB football is dead but, in the words of Miracle Max, it appears it’s only mostly dead.
In the months since the university shuttled the program, the city of Birmingham pledged $500,000 a year for five years if UAB football returns, a task force has said it has secured nearly $6 million in donations for the program, the student government agreed to pay a fee for every student worth about $550,000 a year to bring the program back, the #freeUAB movement was given life, and a study has been released arguing football was much more profitable than the university led the public to believe.
Because of that, embattled UAB president Ray Watts made this announcement Wednesday:
UAB President Ray Watts announces school will decide whether to reinstate football by June 1.
— Kevin Scarbinsky (@KevinScarbinsky) May 13, 2015
The school is expecting a study by Collegiate Sports Solution, which itself is just a review of another study, to be turned in by Friday, which will then allow the school two weeks to give the yay or nay on – however improbably – bringing football back six months after it killed the program. AL.com reported the June 1 announcement date was targeted as a way to prepare UAB for a June 8 Conference USA meeting that could determine the Blazers’ future in the league.
What sort of program would UAB have if it indeed revived football? Head coach Bill Clark is still available but, outside of him, there’s not much. The majority of the able-bodied Blazers and just about all the coaches have already moved on to new programs. A revived UAB football program would essentially be an expansion team, and whatever momentum Clark created in his first season has been erased by now.
But one thing is certain: if you’re going to kill off a Conference USA football program in the American South, you’d better be sure its heart has stopped beating before you dig the grave.