clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

An Open Letter to UAB Alumni: Football is back and moving forward, the least you could do is get out of the way.

Everything is moving in the right direction now, and a small, overly passionate and honestly rather myopic subsection of alumni are making things harder than they need to be.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Look, I get it. It sucks getting burned. You were sure that things were going well this time, that you had found the right one to make you happy and be successful with. Then your grumpy grandfather stepped in and said: "no, this is too nice for you, you can't have it anymore."

Last week, the University of Alabama system Board of Trustees made a major move in approving the first two of the four administrative phases necessary for the UAB Blazer football team to construct a brand new indoor practice facility on campus. The two remaining phases could happen as soon as June.

The history of UAB as an entire university in relation to their overarching governing body has been far less than pleasant, and that has also carried over into athletics, namely football. Our site staff has seen some of it first hand, including what the events of December 2, 2014, did to the alumni, students, faculty, staff and fans of a university. Even without a personal investment in what happened, we certainly are able to empathize with the emotions it created in the school's most fervent supporters.

That being said, given the flurry of positive events that has begun and continues to accumulate, if you are not interested in supporting the UAB Blazers athletics department, then we don't want to hear it.

There is nothing wrong with continuing to harbor skepticism on an occasional basis. In part because that skepticism was borne of wounds that were inflicted by people who still possess the ability to do so, and in part because it is extremely difficult to believe that something will happen, despite the mound of evidence against it - until it actually and fully becomes a reality.

It's fine for now that you are unwilling to fully buy into the success that Bill Clark has had in destroying his Conference USA competitors on the recruiting trail. It's fine that you are unwilling to fully buy into the future home of the UAB football indoor practice facility. It's even fine that you are unwilling to fully buy into the inroads that have been made towards having somewhere to play that is not the cesspool known as Legion Field.

While the team's long-term health and well-being will eventually require that buy-in from you, the allegedly loyal UAB Blazer, that's not what is needed right now. What is needed is simply for you to stop standing in the way of those who have chosen to fully buy in at this point.

This program is making strides. Bringing the program back is one, massive success on the recruiting trail is another, very well thought out and continuously progressing facility discussions is another. These conversations are happening because people like Justin Craft and Hatton Smith and Bill Clark are making sure that they happen.

Even if you are having a hard time staying the course and leaning into the headwind along with all of the other people fully supporting the program, the least you can do is not make it actively more difficult for others to focus on their supportive efforts.

When you do things like suggest that students should drop out of school as a form of protest over the departure of the football program, you are suggesting that people choose between getting a quality education and support 1/16th of the athletics department. While the acts of those with power were reprehensible and deserving of backlash, this is football, not the civil rights movement. Don't ask young adults to make that kind of choice.

When you do things like suggest that students skip obligations like class attendance or doing class assignments (this from a university professor, no less) in order to either spread the word about a pending athletics vote or to attend said vote, you are again asking students to make that choice.

Not only that, having discussions with the students most responsible for the rebirth of this program (who have forged ahead while continuing to achieve very highly in their academics) about shirking academics for football is not just irresponsible, but also disrespectful of the work that they and everyone else have already done in order to get to that moment.

Realistically, there are only two camps to be in. There are those who are supportive of how far the football program, the athletics department, and the university as a whole have come, and are actively working in whatever ways they think are best to make sure that success lasts. And there are those who will always keep one oar in the water just in case, doing their darndest to avoid danger while remaining oblivious to the fact that they're making the canoe spiral on endlessly in one place.

These people are actively disrespecting all of the work that has gotten UAB, UAB athletics, and UAB football to where it is now, all of the work that is to be accomplished in the future, and all of the people who are behind it. Those fine individuals (Hatton Smith, Bill Clark, Jerod Haase, Justin Craft, Courtney Campbell, Garrett Stephens, Tim Alexander and Evan Smith to name a few) are good enough at what they do that they don't need you on their team.

But we're on their team, and we'd appreciate it of you would kindly mind your business while they handle theirs.