Rally for UAB Football Programs Draws in Students, Athletes and Alumni

Students, athletes and alumni of the University of Alabama at Birmingham marched together and rallied for many hours on Monday as a result of school officials potentially shutting down the football program.

Those in attendance could be heard chanting “We want football” and “We are UAB, We are Birmingham” as they marched in solidarity towards the university’s administration building. Protesters gathered to draw out UAB President Ray Watts and demanded that he open up a dialogue about the future of the football program.

Despite many hours of protesting, Watts didn’t appease the crowds by coming out to discuss the issue nor has the school responded to requests for comments from various media outlets. There are plans for more demonstrations to occur on Tuesday in an attempt to get answers.

Zac Woodfin was in attendance at the rally Monday and is a former UAB player along with now acting as an assistant coach for the team. He told the Associated Press, “I’m going to fight for this school and I could care less what people think. I believe in my heart that it’s right.”

The University of Alabama System trustees are responsible for the decision and many of the protesters are directing their anger towards them. The trustees are also in control of the campuses in Birmingham, Huntsville and Tuscaloosa and made the final decision to obstruct the efforts made by UAB to build a new football stadium and hire Jimbo Fisher as coach.

Despite winning a game on Saturday, which could garner UAB a slot in an upcoming bowl, coach Bill Clark isn’t too optimistic that the program will continue. He told ESPN that he believes the football program will be cut after the viability of the program and its finances are assessed by UAB officials.

UAB has found it difficult to build a steady fan following without a stadium to call home and attendance at games has struggled as a result until recently. Attendance has nearly doubled, since Clark stepped onto the field as coach and games are now seeing upwards of 20,000 seats filled at each game. Unfortunately, climbing attendance numbers and well performed games have not been enough to quiet the reports of the program being cut amid the teams best decade yet.

The ripple effects of the elimination of the UAB football team are far reaching to say the least. Without a football program the university’s membership to Conference USA is at stake as are programs associated with the marching band and cheerleader squad. Both marching band members and cheerleaders showed a united front along by participating in the protest with others in support of the football program.

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