If UAB President Dr. Ray Watts and the University of Alabama Board of Trustees are indeed engaged in a public relations "war," as declared by the PR firm hired to
pull a snow job explain the decision making process in Watts's decision to end UAB football, they appear to be losing.
A poll requested by state representative Jack Williams and conducted by Surge Red, a Washington D.C. based public polling firm, surveyed 300 people in central Alabama--excluding Tuscaloosa County, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide--about the decision to end UAB football, and the results can be interpreted as vindication for the Free UAB movement. Residents were asked the following questions:
- Is the current UAB controversy about more than football?
- Did UAB President Ray Watts act improperly in ending UAB football?
- Did Ray Watts end UAB football due to pressure from the UA Board of Trustees?
- Does UAB receive fair and equal treatment from the Board of Trustees?
- Should UAB have a separate Board of Trustees?
- Should UAB be allowed to have a football team?
- Do you support UAB reinstating their football program?
Boom. #FreeUAB 7, Watts/BoT 0. If this was an election, these numbers would be considered a landslide, a mandate, and a death blow to the opposition.
Representative Williams noted: "I knew we had touched a nerve in this part of the state but these numbers were consistent in the outlying areas of the state even on the Mississippi line and the Georgia line and north to south. You don't get numbers in the high 70s and high 80s unless it's across the board." Indeed.
The decision to start or end a football program may not be a democratic one, but the results are clear: Dr. Watts and the BoT continue to ignore the will of the public at their own peril. Momentum to restore UAB Blazer football is building, and that momentum could sweep the current UAB leadership out of office if they continue what appears to be an increasingly ineffective PR war.