UAB is expected to shut down their football program Tuesday, according to multiple reports, just days after the program reached bowl eligibility for just the second time in its history. This news has been rumored for about a month, when UAB boosters alleged the Alabama Board of Trustees planned to shut down the program.
One of the board's members, Paul Bryant Jr., has come under particular fire. The son of legendary Alabama head coach Bear Bryant, Bryant blocked UAB from hiring current Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher back in 2006, forcing them to hire former Alabama player Neal Callaway, who went 18-42 at UAB. Bryant was also accused of blocking a 2011 plan to build an on-campus stadium for the Blazers. A prominent UAB booster alleged Bryant has attempted to kill the program as revenge for when former UAB coach and athletic director Gene Bartow suggested the NCAA investigate Alabama's basketball program and wrote a letter to the NCAA saying penalized Alabama football coaches were "trained" by Bear Bryant.
Many athletes who went to school in Alabama (at UAB or otherwise) have tweeted their support for the program, using the hashtag #FreeUAB.
Alabama native Charles Barkley, who played basketball at Auburn:
Charles Barkley on UAB football " A lot of futures are made through sports, sorry for the city of Birmingham"— Christina Chambers (@chambc1) December 2, 2014
I asked Charles Barkley if it made him hate the Alabama Crimson Tide even more..."No, if we're lucky, Alabama will fold next. lol" #FreeUAB— Christina Chambers (@chambc1) December 2, 2014
Former Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri:
Heard UAB is bowl eligible and now they want to shut them down?!? No way! #FreeUAB retweet to spread the word!— Vinnie Sunseri (@vsunseri3) December 2, 2014
Former Alabama quarterback and current Cincinnati Bengal AJ McCarron:
Everybody in the state should stand up for UAB & help keep their football program alive. I wish everybody the best. Keep the Blazers alive— AJ McCarron (@10AJMcCarron) December 2, 2014
Nebraska running back and Birmingham native Ameer Abdullah:
Gotta keep UAB's football program for sure. Brings athletic competitiveness to the city that I call home! #205StandUp #FreeUAB— Ameer Abdullah (@Ameerguapo) December 2, 2014
Former UAB running back and current Carolina Panther Darrin Reaves:
#UAB losing a lot of future donors right now, including myself.— Darrin Reaves (@Engaged2Success) December 2, 2014
Former Alabama linebacker and current Baltimore Raven CJ Mosley:
December 2, 2014
Former UAB wide receiver and current Atlanta Falcon Roddy White:
Let's rally to save UAB football program— Roddy White (@roddywhiteTV) October 31, 2014
Former Alabama linebacker and current Baltimore Raven Courtney Upshaw:
December 2, 2014
Former UAB quarterback and current Carolina Panther Joe Webb:
#FreeUAB #FreeUAB #FreeUAB #FreeUAB— Joe Webb (@JoeWebb_14) December 2, 2014
Graeme McDowell, UAB graduate and professional golfer: