clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Other Conference USA Presidents Not Following Watt's Lead In Closing Football Programs

From's John Talty comes a look at why, exactly, no other schools within UAB's conference have followed in UAB Blazer footsteps in ending their football programs.

Most of it is really common sense, reasons that we've discussed here before:

"There are only about 20 programs in the country that actually have a return on investment in tangible terms where they make more than they spend," DuBois told "I'm not naïve enough to believe we'll ever see a tangible return on investment in the sense we'll have net profit beyond what we pay."

There you have it. Charlotte's feasibility study did not include "how much money will this make us," but merely "will it be an expense small enough for us to tolerate given everything else it creates."

These two gentlemen (Charlotte chancellor Philip DuBois and Western Kentucky president Gary Randsell) made some other great points (stop me if you've heard these before):

"I wish there was a chemistry or accounting or music section in every paper in every newsstand every day," Ransdell said. "But what we do know is there is a sport section and it's my responsibility to make sure my university is in the news for the right reasons and we continue to build a brand in ways that makes us attractive for students, faculty and staff. The athletic dynamic is of relevant, perhaps even important, part of that equation. You'd be naïve to think otherwise."

This is a great point - though perhaps it could be argued that, along the lines of "all press is good press," Watts and the Board of Trustees have actually done the football program a great service by cancelling it, given all the support and media coverage that has happened since.

Sard Verbinnen, the PR firm behind all of this, included in their assessment of the actions UAB should take the assumption that there was a high probability of other schools taking the same action. They were wrong, but even if they weren't, this isn't about to become a trend and won't be one until "10, 12 0r 15 (disband football)," Randsell said.

"You are known by the company you keep," (Randsell) said. "We wanted to be in the FBS neighborhood, which by and large with Ivy League as an exception, are the nation's generally perceived best institutions - strongest, largest, best funded, graduate programs, research, etc. Making the athletic move was an important part of that strategy at that time."

There you have it. We're talking about priorities, and how much you value the same athletics programs everyone else does as an integral part of the students' quality of life and collegiate experience.

That's right, UAB students, just be happy you've got soccer and basketball. I enjoy how the other shoe just keeps repeatedly dropping here.