UAB deserves respect, independence from Board of Trustees

Regan Williams

This football season has seen a whirlwind of coaching changes in NCAA football. While a few directly affect us here at the Capstone, others are just as important. One in particular is the head coaching job at UAB. It is once again open, and to be blunt, the University needs to allow UAB to get their own coach with out interference from non-UAB board members.

A little bit of back-story is probably needed for all of this to make sense. UAB is part of The University of Alabama System, as is UAH. UAB sports have grown a good bit in the last 40 years. Unfortunately, the school’s athletics programs face resistance from members of the UA System Board of Trustees that are not associated with UAB and do not have UAB’s best interest at heart. They tend to care about The University of Alabama a good bit more than they do the other schools.

This was seen back in 2006 when UAB wanted to hire Jimbo Fischer. His pay would have come from alumni and would not have cost the system much at all. The board claimed that he would have been overpaid. Keep in mind that this same board paid Nick Saban a record-setting contract the next year. Now, I don’t think UAB would have won a national championship with Jimbo. But I do think they would have done a little better than 23-61.

Later, these board members stopped UAB from creating a stadium on campus to replace the old Legion Field that has fallen into disrepair. Again, this stadium would not have cost the University system anything, but they still will not allow it. The new stadium would also have moved UAB football to a much nicer area in the city. They still said no.

This interference needs to stop. The Board of Trustees is supposed to have each university’s interest at heart. Clearly in these cases they do not. They are so stuck on one campus that they have chosen to ignore the others. We need to free UAB. By this I mean we need to allow them to make decisions on coaches and stadiums.

Imagine for a second Nick Saban retiring from coaching college football. We are looking for a new coach. We go to hire a top coach for a record deal, and a group of individuals block it. Wait a few years. These years are full of mediocre football because the coaching staff is now sub-par. The stadium starts falling into disrepair. We raise the money to create a new, better stadium, and this same group says no we can’t have it.

I do not know about you, but I would be livid. This sad state is UAB’s reality. It is not fair. If we would hate going through something like this, then why would we make another school? We should treat each campus with the same respect.

We need to tell the Board to allow UAB to make their own decisions. It is not okay to ignore or worse, sabotage, the sports of the other campuses. The Board of Trustees has gone to far against UAB. We must draw a line in the sand and say this is enough.

Regan Williams is a senior majoring in political science and communication studies. His column runs biweekly on Fridays.