A mere six months after UAB announced it would disband its football program in a wildly unpopular move, the school has reinstated the sport.
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UAB President Announces Return of Football
Monday, June 1
Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com also reported on the program's reinstatement, noting that a report from College Sports Solutions found that bringing back football (along with the rifle program and women's bowling, which had also been cut) would mean the school would operate at a $3.165 million deficit.
However, the report added that doing so would "'foster much goodwill and stimulate a substantial amount of spiritual and financial support from alumni, donors, ticket holders, friends, students, faculty and the community' in addition to 'positive national attention to the university.'"
Indeed, given the backlash to the school's initial decision to cut the sports, bringing them back—namely football—should be a very popular decision.
A fundraising subcommittee, headed by Justin Craft, a former player, raised more than $15 million, per John Talty of AL.com. So there were plenty of parties interested in seeing the football program reinstated.
The school cut football after its best season in quite some time, as new coach Bill Clark led the team to a 6-6 mark and bowl eligibility. Per Scarborough, average attendance also doubled in 2014, an indication that the program may be sustainable even as it looks to compete with the iconic programs in the state, Alabama and Auburn.
UAB football is certainly a long way from being a national power and may never reach those heights. Alabama and Auburn, along with many other SEC schools, have a recruiting edge.
But it appears that the school found enough reason to believe bringing back the program wouldn't be as financially unfeasible as previously thought. It appears the program should be able to sustain itself—or at least come close—going forward.