Time to close UAB athletics

Knox situation one more reason to close UAB sports

UAB is a beacon of achievement in Birmingham. It is a place where students go to get an education. It isn’t a party school. It isn’t a football powerhouse. A strong majority of students do not care about UAB athletics—you couldn’t pay them to attend football or basketball games.

So why does UAB have athletics?

It shouldn’t.

In UAB’s urban setting athletics distracts from rather than enhances UAB’s core mission. UAB’s urban setting provides it with a unique chance to reach a diversity of students. Alabama, Auburn and even Samford and Birmingham Southern reach different students interested in a different college experience. UAB shouldn’t try to be the University of Alabama—it won’t ever achieve that. However, UAB can achieve tremendous success in the classroom and in research. Why copy Alabama and Auburn? Why be RC Cola in a marketplace dominated by Coca-Cola and Pepsi?

UAB is throwing millions of dollars down the drain by attempting to play major college sports. Football is a gigantic waste of money. The Blazer football program becomes less relevant every season. That isn’t an insult to the fine players who attend school there, but it is a reflection on the sports community of Birmingham. There isn’t any support for Blazer football. Ask a UAB alum about football and you are going to hear talk about Alabama or perhaps Auburn. Ask a UAB alum about basketball and you are more likely to hear him change the subject to Alabama or Auburn football.

You can’t change it. So why waste millions on it?

Every dollar spent on UAB sports should be diverted to academic programs. In the past basketball was a good thing for the University, but it is now a source of distraction.

The Justin Knox situation highlights the problems with UAB (link to al.com); having any type of athletics at UAB is a negative for the University of Alabama System. State legislators should immediately introduce legislation to prohibit UAB from having any Division 1 programs. Or else.

UAB athletics is a waste of money. UAB athletics is a waste of time. UAB athletics is bad for the University of Alabama System.

There is no reason to continue it. It is time for state legislators to do the right thing. While it might be hard to stop talking about Bingo bills, the legislature owes it to the state of Alabama to fix this lingering problem.

Alternatively, if the legislature won’t act, then the University of Alabama trustees should hire a new president for UAB—a president committed to academics and financial responsibility. Such a president would be committed to ending athletics at UAB. The tough economy makes it more important than ever for UAB to be fiscally responsible.