Report: UAB to Shut Down Football Program

By Kevin Kelley -

The UAB Blazers will shut down their football program and fire their athletic director, according to a report by Sports Illustrated.

Speculation over the future of the UAB football program has grown over the last couple of months, and it appears it will come to an end in an announcement that is expected later this week.

First-year head coach Bill Clark told ESPN today that he expects the UAB program to be shuttered.

“I think it’s going to happen,” said Clark. “Unless something changes before the weekend ends, I think it’s over. I think the odds are very high it ends this week. To shut the doors? That’s sad.”

UAB began playing football in 1991 in NCAA Division III. After two seasons there, the Blazers moved up to Division II in 1993 before reaching Division I in 1996. The Blazers played two seasons as an Independent before joining their first, and current, conference, Conference USA in 1999.

In 24 seasons, UAB has complied an overall record of 117-150-2 (.439). The Blazers have played in one post-season game, the 2004 Hawaii Bowl, and they lost 59-40 to Hawaii.

This season, under new head coach Bill Clark, the Blazers finished 6-6 and are bowl-eligible for the third time overall and the first time since ’04. Currently, it’s unknown whether UAB would accept an invite to a bowl if offered.

If the UAB football program is shut down, Conference USA will again have an open slot and the move will also affect the future football schedules of several teams.

Conference USA, currently at 13 members, was set to move to 14 teams next season with the addition of the Charlotte 49ers. If UAB is not around, the conference will again be at 13 teams like they are this season.

If C-USA still wants to move to a 14-team league without UAB, some FCS schools likely to garner interest include James Madison and Liberty. Some pundits have also suggested a few current Sun Belt schools, such as Arkansas State, Georgia State, South Alabama, Texas State, and UL Lafayette.

As far as future schedules, UAB is currently slated to open the 2015 season against the Tennessee Volunteers at LP Field in Nashville. The game isn’t a neutral-site kickoff game, but rather a Tennessee home game “moved” to Nashville.

Tennessee could be left scrambling for a new opponent and it would be tough as they already have an FCS opponent lined up (Western Carolina on Sept. 19).

In 2015, UAB is also scheduled to host Georgia State and South Alabama and travel to Troy. At first glance, you would think those four teams could just play each other. But that would require more shuffling because their playable dates don’t match up.

For the 2016 season, which is the farthest that UAB has games scheduled, the Blazers have four games under contract. They are scheduled to open the season at Kentucky, travel to South Alabama, host Troy, and later visit Georgia State.

More should be known about the future of UAB football later this week, but fans, students, players, and more aren’t happy about the possibility of losing the team.

Football Schedules

Comments (25)

Bowling Green has an open date on September 5th and only 3 non-conf games of their 4 filled for next season

How do you discuss potential C-USA additions without mentioning the top mid-major program in Alabama – Troy?. Not that C-USA is any better than the Sun belt, but I suppose perception matters.

Troy has facilities now that are better than what most C-USA schools have. It is a powerhouse (except for the last couple of years) in the Sun Belt, would come in with one of the best baseball programs and has good softball, golf and women’s soccer programs. Basketball is rebuilding with new coaches on both sides. Football just brought in one of the best OCs in the country as head coach. The basketball arena is new and state of the art. The 30,000-seat football stadium is state of the art and being expanded into a bowl with new suites, large video boards, meeting rooms, locker rooms offices, weight training, fan seating and more. South Alabama is brand new to football with no stadium of its own.

Troy won’t get into the CUSA in a million years. The CUSA wants markets, first off, and if they stay in Alabama they will want South Alabama who has Mobile. Facilities at USA are fine, and team success is another factor in football where South Alabama is currently better. That being said, there is a good chance they add someone outside of the state. Georgia State comes to mind, bringing the Atlanta market.

Troy has the least chance to be added to the CUSA of anyone in the Sun Belt aside from New Mexico State, Idaho, and probably UL Monroe.

Umass should replace them as an FB member only, as they are leaving the MAC in FB only after 2015.
Therefore, the C-USA would have an even number of teams in FB and all other sports.
The driving distance from UMass to ODU is about the same as UTEP to UTSA.

UMass in an independent now. They wouldn’t go into that conference if their life depended upon it. Look at their quality schedules planned for the future.

CUSA has 13 teams right now. They would probably be quite happy to remain at 12.

This is indeed very sad, there is no reason why this should even be happening. I don’t see UAB being a treat to Alabama at all. I don’t understand why the board members allowed this to happen, may be because the UAB was growing to fast? I hope in the future UAB can control there own athletics & bring the football team back. Alabama & Auburn football do & always will rule the state of Alabama, UAB would never even reach what both these schools have accomplished over the last century. But to live in fear because your afraid of UAB sir pasting is nuts, sounds like politics working at its finest.

C-USA should grab UMass after the 2015 season. I seriously doubt any of those other schools listed will go, especially with Liberty’s religious affiliations. With Charlotte coming in 2015 and if they grab UMass for 2016, that would put C-USA back to 14 football schools.

Liberty would go. C-USA is a perfect fit for them. They have a geographic rival in ODU, and C-USA has a huge footprint nationally that would draw them in. They want to be known nationally, and the geographic diversity of C-USA would be a positive. They have the facilities and the money (net assets over $1 Billion, and an online program so large it just injects money in) to make the move to FBS rather quickly. Plus, Liberty has a rather large TV network (10 million homes) that would help grow C-USA’s coverage. Also, in 2012, Falwell said if Liberty is extended an invitation, they would make a decision within 48 hours. Only a school like Liberty can offer that kind of immediate decision.

I agree that it is sad to see petty jealousies from the most well funded university football program (Alabama) in the United States take out UAB’s football program just because they can control the Board of Regents in Alabama politically. This is BULLYING by the Good Ole Boys!!

The article states that Troy, South Alabama, and Georgia St., the 2015 non-conference games for UAB, could just play each other if only their open/available dates matched up. But there is another issue: they are all in the Sun Belt and are probably already scheduled to play each other.

CUSA will not let UMass join unless its all sports. But I think they would be wise to be proactive in bringing in a new member. My bets would be on Texas State or Arkansas State. This also keeps them geographically in the South, as I believe the next time The American (AAC) comes calling it will be for Southern Miss or Rice.

Teams can play each other more than once in a season, Idaho and NMSU had a home-and-home in place for last season but then Idaho changed their home game to Texas State and NMSU to ULL upon gaining affiliate membership to the SBC.

This is sad on so many levels. I work at UAB and my daughter goes to school here. She is involved in the band that will certainly lose out along with the players, staff and other kids that are involved in athletics here. Many on scholarships and now lose that. They will leave UAB due to the tuition costs, location and lack of school spirit with loss of the programs. Just does not make sense. I have been here 28 years and work for the hospital. Our own department requires the approval of the Board of Trustees for Hospital projects. This has always been the case of their hands in our “pots”. They never wanted this program to succeed and honestly was suprised it was not squashed last year. But they are working very hard and it shows. We were at all games last year and this year. This year is a whole new environment. Lots show up. Most could not afford to go to an Alabama or Auburn game. There was lots of spirit. Lots of love for their team. I pray this is not the end for UAB. Just too sad.

I hope Texas State replaces them in Conference USA. Texas State would love to be aligned with Rice, North Texas, UTEP, UTSA, and Louisiana Tech in CUSA’s West Division. The Bobcats probably have the best athletic facilities of all the Sun Belt teams. Alabama’s loss becomes Texas’ gain!

If you plot the Texas schools on the map you can see why they’d be hesitant to add. Texas State. Although selfishly I’d like for them to get the call, so that the SBC gives SHSU and most likely little brother (SFA) a call to shore-up the Houston market.

UMAss would not be a good fit for Conference USA for a couple reasons. Geographically, it’s in the wrong quardrant of the US to make reasonable trips to other conference games. Athletically, the UMass football team has gone 5-31 since moving up to FBS in 2012. Army would be a better choice if C-USA is looking outside the geographical region, as the Black Knights have been 9-27 over the same period (assuming a loss to Navy this Dec 13).

Troy (14-22 last 3 years), or South Alabama (14-23) would be better fits geographically as well as athletically. Charlotte would replace UAB in the C-USA East Division, and Troy or USA would be assigned to the West to balance the divisions out at 7 teams each.

C-USA will look at Markets. JMU would solidify the Virginia Market with ODU. But they may have made a decision to stay FCS. The next best looking school is Georgia State, which adds the important Atlanta market and the State of Georgia recruiting. Those two are the best choices, and both are decent academically, and have solid finances.

Texas State unfortunately is too close geographically to UTSA and doesn’t help market. ULL, Troy, USA, Arky St, are all low budget programs, far under the $25-30m minimum C-USA would look for. None brings a market. Liberty is an academic problem, not happening. New Mexico State could actually be a possible, as it give outlier UTEP a travel partner – but they don’t add a market, and there are questions about Football’s future there. Delaware would fit the bill of the mid-Atlantic if JMU passes, but they seem even less eager than JMU to move up. UMass has booked too many games through 2018, and its hard to see them leave A10 Basketball; they are also a terrible program and a ridiculous outlier.

When you really drill down at the schools and their resources and markets, only two pass muster, James Madison and Georgia State. A selection of a 14th will likely come from one of those two.

Also we should not forget that Southern Miss is another place where the future of Football is uncertain. Put them in the pile with UMass, San Jose State, New Mexico State, and Hawaii as fragile. Idaho is also fragile, but they would drop to FCS, the others would simply drop football.

Just wondering where you’ve heard that all these programs are thinking of dropping football (NMSU, Southern Miss, SJSU, Hawaii). Also, I think the smaller conferences are not as concerned about market size as the bigger ones are.

I dont know about all of those schools but I do recall reading somewhere that Hawaii was considering it due to poor performance on field and travel costs. I recall SBNation site having an article about Hawaii football where the AD said it was a real chance of shutting down.

Really CUSA would be better off if UTEP left and then they try to bring in Ark St and Ga St. You would then have a presence in Atlanta and with Ark St replacing UTEP, you would have a slightly smaller footprint which would help shave travel costs since you would no longer have to travel way out in no mans land to play them. But since that wont happen and you can only have one, I would shoot for Ga St.

If C-USA wants members based on TV markets, have at Georgia State (just like FIU supposedly delivering Miami). Please, take it! GSU is at the bottom of the barrel of the Sun Belt (with poor facilities), while programs like Troy, Arkansas State, Louisiana and now even Georgia Southern, Appalachian State and Texas State mostly fill their stadiums and have actual fans. Troy is closing in its second end zone with a massive complex and just built the nicest arena in the region. Baseball is among the best in the region with a top, new facility. Softball and track and field just got top-notch stadiums. Troy just hired one of the best SEC OCs as is football head coach. I’m not even sure Troy would want to go to C-USA (leagues are even but the Sun Belt’s newcomers are much better than the new C-USA members), but Troy would be the best choice to keep an Alabama presence.