BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — University of Alabama at Birmingham President Ray Watts announced he would revisit his decision to eliminate the school’s football program.
“I have listened, and I agree that if an independent financial review is needed to verify the credibility of our numbers, that is what we should do,” Watts told members of the media Friday.
It was a financial report by Carr Sports Consulting which Watts said led to his decision to eliminate the program, which he announced in November.
The decision proved to be controversial within the Birmingham community, as supporters of the football team protested in the streets and city leaders voiced their concerns about cutting the program.
During Friday’s announcement, Watts said he would enlist a committee of campus leaders, not including himself, to select another consulting firm to conduct a review. The firm would have 90 days to generate and present a report.
Watts was vague as to whether or not the new report would change his mind.
“I’m sure a question is, ‘Will you reinstate football?” Watts said. “The answer is simply that we agree with our alumni leaders and others that an independent review of the numbers that led to the athletic department decisions is needed.”
After brief statements from Birmingham Mayor William Bell; UAB’s alumni chair, Wes Smith; and Alabama State Sen. J.T. “Jabo” Waggoner, Watts answered his first questions from reporters since he said he’d do away with football.
Watts told reporters he’d maintained his relative silence because he was involved in discussions with university stakeholders and members of the community, while handling day-to-day operations at the school.
No mention was made of the womens’ rifle and bowling teams, which were cut along with the football program.
Regardless of any future decisions, Watts said there would still be no football at UAB for the 2015 season.
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