(AP Photo/AL.com, Joe Songer)


John Talty of AL.com has sources telling him that UAB will reinstate its football program and will make the announcement at 5 p.m. EDT.


Another Birmingham-based journalist has sources telling him that UAB is indeed bringing back football.


In December, University of Alabama-Birmingham President Ray Watts announced that the school was cutting its football program after the 2014 season, citing the financial drain the program had on the school’s athletic department.

On Monday, Watts and UAB Athletic Director Mark Ingram will announce whether that decision will stand at a 5 p.m. EDT news conference.

According to a Birmingham sports-talk host, things are looking good:

But John Archibald of AL.com called the chances of football being reinstated “a coin flip.” Archibald then laid out the prerequisites for the program’s return:

On Monday Watts will likely announce that UAB donors must commit at least $17 million for operational expenses associated with football and the costs of bringing it back – an amount that continues to creep up but appears close to being met. Watts will also argue that an additional $13 million for football facilities must be committed, because UAB itself won’t spring for it.

The question now is how much of that “facilities” money is enough. If donors commit $4 million or $5 million, will it convince Watts to change his mind?

There was an outpouring of support for the program after the school announced it would be eliminated, and Wells appointed a task force to further study the program’s financial feasibility after his initial announcement. Since the announcement, 53 Birmingham area cities passed resolutions asking that UAB reinstate the program, and supporters of the program lined up boosters to further fund the football team.

Plus, in April, a study conducted by an independent economic analysis firm concluded that the football program actually made money for the university and would continued to do so for many years, thanks to the ever-increasing revenue created by college football as a whole.

This report led many to believe what they had long suspected: That UAB’s decision to kill football was not a financial one — as publicly stated — but rather a political one, with influential supporters of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa’s far more successful program forcing the issue to solidify their importance within the state.

UAB’s football team, which didn’t even play at college football’s top level until 1996, has long struggled to gain a foothold in football-mad Alabama. The Blazers have long played in the shadow of the program fielded by the state’s flagship university in Tuscaloosa, perhaps the most dominant program in college football. Plus, they played their home games at crumbling Legion Field, which at more than 71,000 seats is far too large for program of UAB’s stature. The Blazers averaged more than 20,000 per home game last season, double the number from 2013.

If the program is reinstated, it would almost certainly not be able to field a team again until 2016. Nearly the entire 2014 roster transferred out of UAB after the school’s decision. Coach Bill Clark, meanwhile, announced in January that he would not coach anywhere in 2015 in hopes that the school reverses its decision. UAB is still paying him for the final two years of his three-year contract.