Have you ever heard of the term “red headed step child”? Well there is a little football program in north Alabama being treated like one. For years upon years The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has been getting the short end of the stick to their big brother. The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa have been depriving the Blazers since the program has started. One has to wonder why the MIGHTY Alabama Crimson Tide is so hesitant to giving UAB any benefits? The reason I always hear is that “The Good Ol’ Boys” in Tuscaloosa do not want the UAB program to take anything away from their own. In my personal opinion I think it’s a lot more than that. FREE UAB Football, and give them a chance!
Let me take you back to September 23, 2000 when the UAB Blazers went into Baton Rouge, Louisiana to play the LSU Tigers. LSU was coming into the 2000 season under new head coach Nick Saban, who of course is now the current Alabama head coach. No one gave the little team from Birmingham a chance in Death Valley at night. The Blazers would go on to win that game with a last second field goal by kicker Rhett Gallego. All of college football knows upsets happen but this upset put the Alabama Crimson Tide on notice. For one coach (Saban), I’m sure he will always remember that game and will not forget the potential UAB holds.
Right after the 2006 season both Alabama and UAB were looking for a head coach. Alabama would eventually hire former LSU head coach Nick Saban and UAB was hoping to hire current Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher. Fisher who was Saban’s offensive coordinator for LSU was definitely wanting the job. The contract was already worked and UAB was ready to hire Jimbo Fisher for $600,000! The board of trustee’s in Tuscaloosa denied this action and Jimbo Fisher was gone. The reasoning was that the contract was too much in monetary value and was not affordable. Yet the board approved to buyout Mike Shula’s 4 million dollar contract and offered Rich Rodriguez a six year, 12 million dollar contract. UAB was stuck with their second option Neil Callaway.
Just a tidbit, Jimbo Fisher is now 31-10 as a college football head coach. The last three UAB coaches that the board has approved of, have had losing records for the Blazers.
Former UAB President Carol Garrison made a proposal for an on-campus stadium in front of the board in 2011. The plans called for the stadium to have a capacity of 30,000 which would cost around $75 million, in a horseshoe shape. Experts predicted that ticket revenue would project to $5,782,723 in the first year to $6,875,635 in the tenth year. The stadium would eventually pay for itself and would start to make a profit.
Of course the board denied this proposal giving the reason that the UAB football attendance is just not high enough. WELL NO DUH! Legion field is a hand-me-down down and there is a reason Alabama vs. Auburn do not play there anymore. A part of the stadium is condemned, the atmosphere is scary, the vicinity of the stadium is not family friendly, and it looks like crap. The stadium broke ground in 1926 and has not been renovated since 1991, who would want to take their kids there? From the outside, the stadium it looks like a prison.
The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa has not given UAB football any chance to have success. The Crimson Tide have 15 national championships and many, many conference championships. What in the world do they have to be afraid of? We can all see what potential UAB has, but if your scared of it, why not just get rid of the program? There is no reason to make a program suffer without any kind of hope. FREE UAB FOOTBALL!