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A petition to keep UAB football is closing in on 2,500 signatures

UAB

Last week we published a letter by UAB football alums to university president Dr. Ray Watts to keep the Blazer football program intact amid rumors that some within the University of Alabama system were pushing to shut the program down following the 2016 season.

"In the B Club’s opinion, delaying long overdue capital improvements and Coach Clark’s contract extension would potentially jeopardize the future of our football program," the group wrote. "As you are aware, to lose football is to lose conference affiliation and to lose conference affiliation means that basketball and the rest of our outstanding sports programs would be relegated to the lower echelons of the NCAA. These thoughts are unacceptable and we know your leadership will not allow such drastic and un-beneficial decisions to be made."

Watts responded with a letter of his own a day later, not saying he was planning on shuttling the program, but not saying he wasn't planning on canceling football, either.

“We are working to accelerate the timeline for completion of the strategic plan and will communicate with the UAB community in the near future," Watts wrote. "Although we certainly welcome input from our fans and supporters and value their enthusiasm, the fact is that rumor and innuendo will be distracting to our coaches and players who have big games in the coming weeks. We are being careful and thoughtful in our disciplined process with lots of input – and we will reach the right outcomes for UAB.”

Now, former UAB football player Lee Miller has brought the public into the fray. Posted on iPetitions.com a day after Watts' letter, the petition is up to 2,426 signatures as of this writing. The goal is 10,000.

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In the meantime, Clark and the Blazers continue to press on in search of the second bowl berth in program history. Sitting at 5-5 on the season, UAB is off this week before hosting Marshall on Nov. 22 and visiting Southern Miss on Nov. 29.

"I don't want to say it would not be a distraction because there's no way it wasn't with the Twitter world we live in and media. Shoot, they know stuff before I even know it, sometimes. But I'll tell you what I've told many people about it," Clark said last week of the support to keep the program afloat. "It's very humbling and I told our players that. There are people that love them and love what we're doing and how they're playing and want to fight for them."