UAB cancels its football program, sending shock waves through college sports

UAB cancels its football program, sending shock waves through college sports

The University of Alabama, Birmingham dropped its football program this week, the first major college football program to do so since 1995 when the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, did so.

UAB President Ray Watts made the announcement after a review that concluded the school could not keep up in the new world of college football without unsustainable investments.

UAB's financial strain is shared widely in college athletics, but it intensified last year when the top five football conferences — home to the tiny number of schools whose football programs are self-sustaining — gained NCAA approval to write their own rules for funding their athletes. Poorer conferences and schools like UAB simply cannot compete.

“The fiscal realities we face — both from an operating and a capital investment standpoint — are starker than ever and demand that we take decisive action for the greater good of the Athletic Department and UAB,” Watts said, as reported by UAB News. “As we look at the evolving landscape of NCAA football, we see expenses only continuing to increase. When considering a model that best protects the financial future and prominence of the Athletic Department, football is simply not sustainable.”

This is just the first move in a deeper financial problem troubling college sports, FOX Sports said in a report that breaks down the revenue and expenses for a number of football programs while also looking more broadly at other sports at UAB.

The key takeaway in the Fox Sports data is that all sports are a financial drain, and that ultimately other students or the taxpayers are subsidizing the hobbies of student athletes.

 

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