BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Birmingham City Council president is reacting to a report that UAB is considering whether to end its football program in the next few years. Last Thursday, a former UAB football player and current fundraiser shared his concerns about the future of the program.
Justin Craft is a former UAB football player, and he’s now part of the new UAB Football Foundation. Craft says he and other UAB football supporters are concerned that UAB head coach Bill Clark’s contract has not been extended and that out-of-conference games are not scheduled after 2016. Craft outlined their concerns in a letter to UAB President Dr. Ray Watts last week.
Watts responded with a statement that confirmed investments in the football program are being evaluated as part of an ongoing campus wide strategic planning process, but he also said that it is too early to comment.
That statement from UAB President Ray L. Watts also included the following:
Not surprisingly given the size of the program, one area of focus involves evaluating the investments in football and the resources necessary to achieve and sustain excellence now and into the future. We’ve been working for many months on this data driven process, and it would be counterproductive and inappropriate to speculate on outcomes based on an incomplete process — not just related to athletics, but across the campus.
Birmingham City Council Johnathan Austin is now sounding off about what he calls a lack of support for UAB. Austin says that he believes the football program is important to the university for a number of reasons and says he will support it however he can.
“We also need to consider is if it is the time for UAB to have their own board of trustees that will represent UAB’s best interests because obviously some board members that are on the board right now don’t have the best interests of UAB at heart,” said Austin.
Austin says he is drafting a resolution of support for the UAB football program.
A spokesperson for the UA System and the board of trustees declined to comment.
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