University of Alabama Birmingham president Ray Watts confirmed on Monday that the football program will return. He described the original decision in December 2014 to end the football program due to budgetary reasons as “agonizing” but he said it would return after $27 million was raised by the UAB Football Foundation.
“Given the broad base of support never before seen, as of today, we are taking steps to reinstate the football, rifle and bowling programs,” Watts said. “I am forwarding documents to Conference USA and the NCAA notifying them that UAB plans to remain an FBS program and a full member of C-USA.”
Return of UAB Blazers
No date was given as to when the Blazers would officially be back playing football as the program refused to confirm that it would be back in time for the 2016 season. They only said they would aim for it to be as soon as possible and that this was the beginning of a long journey back for the UAB Blazers.
The news will have been warmly received by head coach Bill Clark who stayed on with the program even after it was terminated with most of the current players and coaches moving elsewhere. He now has the tough task of having to recruit an entire roster from virtually nothing with a lot of the talent from the 2014 season having already transferred elsewhere.
Given the time it will take for the football program to have everything in place it should mean Bill Clark has ample opportunity to recruit players to the Blazers. It may be a long road to get the team back to where they were in 2014 when they were bowl eligible for only the second time in school history. The team nearly doubled attendance last year but also has created a lot of goodwill and support following the death and return of the football team.
The city of Birmingham has really battled to bring the team back and now it has succeeded in that task will be hopeful of maintaining that support for when the team finally manages to play their first football game. In the long term it’s possible that UAB could continue the upward trajectory that they were on before the termination of the football program halted that progress.