Saturday, June 06, 2015

#FreeUAB Worked. Would #FreeBU Have, Too?

By all accounts what happened at UAB was extraordinary.

Last November, football at UAB was essentially abolished by the University of Alabama's Board of Trustees and confirmed by president Ray Watts.  The decision was made secretly, in the middle of the season, with an entire press release written up - but since it didn't "look good", Watts kept up with the fiction that there still was a decision to be made.

After the season concluded, Watts announced the termination of the program, saying that "was not about finances... but planning for excellence in the future for everything we do."

You probably know the rest of the story.  It was immediately apparent to all (but apparently not Watts, or the CarrSports Consultants who were commissioned the data to help make that decision) that UAB's termination of football would almost certainly cost them membership in Conference USA, which was one of several factors that helped set ablaze students, alumni, and most importantly important boosters and community sponsors who mobilized immediately to save football (and bowling and women's rifle, the two other programs that were cut in the same move).

#FreeUAB was a hashtag that never really went away from December 2014 to June 1st, 2015, when the Alabama Board of Trustees and Watts stunningly reversed their decision, saying that they would be reinstating football and remain members of Conference USA.

So much at UAB echoes what happened at other schools that shuttered their football programs, too, but nowhere does it echo more strongly than what happened at Boston University in October of 1997.

It makes me wish Twitter, and some variation of a #FreeBU hashtag, existed back then.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Why Don't Loyola U. and Boston U. Sponsor Football (Again)?

When you see this picture of Loyola University headgear, do you think football, or lacrosse?

If you're a rabid college football fan, you're forgiven if you think of this as a possible concept football helmet for a member of the Patriot League, Loyola (MD), though it's actually a lacrosse helmet, of course.

This last week I started to take a look at the financial details of the schools of the Patriot League, and some of the other schools in the Northeast that sponsor FCS football.

Yet one nagging question kept reappearing in my mind.

Why am I looking around for Patriot League expansion candidates to aid in the League's football conference when two of the best possible additions in the league for football are already full-sports members?

One had a decidedly modest football history that didn't make that much of a dent on the college football consciousness.  The other had a rich football history buried by a president that was an ideological zealot.  Neither sponsor the sport today.

But both have the facilities, the money, and the conference to do it.  You can make a very good case that they should be the eighth and ninth football-playing members of the League.

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