The University of Alabama-Birmingham is reportedly closing down its football program as a cost cutting measure.
The announcement is expected this week and comes at a time when the school’s team, the UAB Blazers, have had a banner season becoming bowl-eligible for the first time since 2004.
Sports Illustrated notes that signs have been everywhere that the school was leaning toward making this move. The most obvious being that the school had not extended coach Bill Clark’s three-year contract–not to mention that some of his assistants had found that their contracts were not being discussed by school administrators, either.
UAB does not have a very long standing football program, though, having started its team only in 1991.
Supporters of the football program charge that the university is shutting down the program out of spite because of a feud with former athletic director Gene Bartow but the school says that it is more a matter of budgetary concerns.
Late in 2012 UAB began a review of its expenditures and initiated a campus-wide strategic planning program to reassess its offerings with the goal to “achieve and sustain excellence now and into the future.”
The football program has not been without troubles. Early in November school administrators conducted an investigation looking into a charge that attempted to link defensive end Chris Rabb to a point-shaving accusation that also involves his friend and former high school teammate Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.
A gambling website, relying an an anonymous bookie as the source, accused Rabb with placing a four-figure bet that FSU would trail at the half in a game against Louisville. The Seminoles found themselves behind 21-7 at halftime but then rallied to win 42-31.
The last major school to drop its football program was Pacific University in 1995.
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