A few notes on the UABOT and UAB athletics
- April 23, 1884: The U.S. Congress passed a law granting 46,000 acres of public land within the state of Alabama as an endowment to the University, "to be applied as far as may be necessary to the erection of suitable buildings for said university and to the restoration of the library and scientific apparatus heretofore destroyed fire." The land selected by state geologist Eugene Allen Smith was primarily mineral land in the Warrior Coal Field, primarily in Walker, Jefferson and Bibb Counties, with some holdings in Fayette, Tuscaloosa and Shelby Counties.
- 1901: The Alabama Constitution of 1901 established the University of Alabama Board of Trustees (UABOT) with two members from Tuscaloosa's Congressional District and one each from the state's other Congressional Districts along with the Alabama Superintendent of Education and the Governor, who serves ex officio. Members serve 12-year terms and receive no pay or emolument except for actual expenses incurred in the discharge of board duties. In part because of a controversy over a Governor's attempt to interfere with the University's endowed lands, the board was empowered to appoint its own members by secret ballot. Members so selected serve immediately, but are subject to confirmation by the Alabama State Senate at their next regular session. The seats of candidates so rejected are to be filled by the Senate alone (Alabama Constitution of 1901, Section 264)
- 1936: The Birmingham Extension Center of the University of Alabama was established.
- 1945: The University of Alabama School of Medicine moved from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham, and took over management of Jefferson and Hillman Hospitals.
- 1966: After vigorous lobbying by Birmingham civic leaders, the University of Alabama's Birmingham Extension Center (now the "College of General Studies") and the University of Alabama School of Medicine were merged as the degree-granting "University of Alabama in Birmingham" (UAB).
- October 26, 1967: The first issue of Kaleidoscope published a description of what was still being called the "College of General Studies" authored by Dean George Campbell. He noted that, "Until the establishment of the College of General Studies in the fall of 1966, Birmingham appeared to be the largest metropolitan area in the United States, with the possible exception of San Antonio, without a degree-granting institution receiving public support." He further noted that no state money had been used for capital improvements on the Birmingham campus, compared to $4 million for the Huntsville campus, $4.5 million of the University of South Alabama, and $5 million for the planned Auburn University campus in Montgomery, despite the fact that none of those locations had access to the nearly as many potential students as Birmingham. (Kaleidoscope Vol 1, No. 1, p. 4)
- June 16, 1969: Governor Albert Brewer announced the formation of the "University of Alabama System", with three autonomous campuses governed by one board of trustees. Joseph Volker, already heading UA's Birmingham extension center as executive vice president to UA President Frank Rose, was made the first "President of the University of Alabama in Birmingham".
- 1969: At his first meeting with the faculty senate, Volker was asked about the possibility of UAB fielding a football team. His response was that it was, "Not currently part of the plan." (McWilliams-2007)
- 1971: UAB's College of General Studies became "University College" and shared the new University College Building No. 1 with the newly-created Schools of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Engineering.
- 1971: The UAB Blazers athletic department was established with the creation of a golf team.
- 1970-78: UA president F. David Mathews brought a proposal to the UABOT to hinder the expansion of UAB and UAH by setting limits on campus housing, athletic programs, and post-master's degrees. UAH president Benjamin Graves objected, noting that his campus was already granting more Ph.D.s in engineering and physics than Tuscaloosa or Auburn. The proposed resolutions were tabled. (link)
- 1976: Changes were made to the administrative structure of the University of Alabama system, resulting in the creation of the position of Chancellor of the UA system. Joseph Volker, who had been president of UAB, was the first to take the office. The change was unpopular with the three campus administrations. According to a contemporary article:
"Advocates of the University of Alabama’s historic campus in Tuscaloosa were opposed to the additional control being instituted over the campus. And by then an intense rivalry had developed between the University campus in Tuscaloosa and the booming UAB, and Volker’s appointment fueled fears in Tuscaloosa that with Volker’s ties, UAB would flourish at the expense of the traditional campus. Through the years, angry Tuscaloosa County legislators and others complained of incidents they said demonstrated that Volker either restrained or helped raid the Tuscaloosa institution to enhance UAB."(Wheat, Jack (July 18, 1982) "His work with university part of 'lifetime romance'." Tuscaloosa News)
- 1977: S. Richardson Hill became president of UAB. He recruited John Kirklin to chair the surgery department.
- 1978: Hill hired Gene Bartow from UCLA as athletic director and coach of the new UAB Blazers men's basketball team.
- 1980s: Inadequate state funding for higher education was compounded by proration, with no mechanism for relief in sight. Governor Fob James was vocally unsupportive of calls to improve state funding for colleges and universities.
- 1981: Responding to backlash against the absence of African Americans on the self-appointed UABOT, the Alabama State Legislature, led by Lieutenant Governor George McMillan, blocked confirmation of four appointees and put a board expansion measure on the ballot for a statewide referendum.
- March 17, 1982: The proposed amendment expanding the UA Board of Trustees to have two members from each of the state's congressional districts, plus an additional member, "from the congressional district which includes the site of the first campus of the university," was approved by statewide referendum. The amendment also reduced the term of board members to six years and limited members to three consecutive terms. It further created the honorary position of "trustee emeritus," with "no responsibilities, duties, rights, or privileges as such" (Alabama Constitution of 1901, Section 264, Amendment 399)
- 1982: Three African Americans and four women were appointed by the board to fill the seven newly-created board seats.
- 1982: New Lieutenant Governor Bill Baxley spearheaded rules changes for the Alabama State Senate that gave the Senate Rules Committee the power to disapprove any new appointments to the UABOT, and to select replacement candidates which could be approved by the full Senate.
- 1982: Baxley appointed Charles Bishop as chair of that committee. Five of the seven new appointees were rejected by Baxley. He claimed to have acted in accordance with the wishes of Bear Bryant, who had, "asked him to make sure people oriented toward the Tuscaloosa campus were appointed to the board". After a new round of appointees, only two African Americans were confirmed, angering Black leaders who felt that Baxley had betrayed their trust. (Wheat, Jack (July 12, 1983) "3 trustees quit; poisoned political climate charged" Tuscaloosa News)
- October 1982: A committee of the UABOT prepared a draft land-management policy under which the university would seek more aggressive returns from the 26,000-acre endowment remaining from its 1884 federal grant of public lands. The committee recognized that, historically, returns from the endowment were used only on the Tuscaloosa campus. However, in their draft, they proposed that the first three quarters of annual income should be dedicated to the home campus, and the other quarter used at the discretion of the board at any campus. UA President Joab Thomas told his faculty that his position was that the lands were dedicated to the rebuilding of the Tuscaloosa campus only, and that, "my feeling is that we're still rebuilding, and I have a building program in mind." (Wheat, Jack (October 26, 1982) "Destruction of UA campus had silver lining" The Tuscaloosa News)
- July 1983: After being rejected by the Senate Rules Committee, three newly-appointed members of the UABOT, Louis Willie, Jr, Robin Swift and Margaret Tolbert resigned their positions. Willie cited a climate "poisoned by jealousy, acrimony, and raw power politics," for making his service impossible. (Wheat-July 12, 1983)
- September 22, 1983: The UABOT formally rejected a proposal by UAB to apply for U.S. Department of Education College Housing Program funding for on-campus housing. Assistant Chancellor William O'Connor said that, "an extensive review of housing needs, in view of [UAB]'s statewide mission in the health professions, will take place in the future." ("University trustees are meeting in city (September 22, 1983) Tuscaloosa News)
- 1985: Alabama Athletic Director Ray Perkins negotiated a contract with the City of Birmingham for the Crimson Tide football team to continue playing a minimum of three home games each year at Legion Field. Part of the 10-year contract stipulated that no other college team could play more than two games in the stadium in any one season.
- 1987: Baxley lost his office and lost the gubernatorial election. Jim Folsom, Jr was elected Lieutenant Governor (1987 article)
- 1987: Scotty McCallum was appointed UAB President.
- January 20, 1988: Rep. John Rogers and Sen. Earl Hilliard introduced legislation to separate UAB from the UABOT. Hilliard was quoted as saying "The trustees have consistently suppressed the growth of UAB, its facilities, programs and activities, in hopes of diverting students to UAT." - Brian Connell (January 28, 1988) "Legislators propose split from UA System for UAB's 'survival'" UAB Kaleidoscope. Vol. 31, No. 4, p. 1
- Chuck Faush, then president of the University College Student Government Association, agreed with the criticisms of inequity in the UA System, but hoped that correcting them would not require a full split. He expressed support for the leadership of UAB president Scotty McCallum, who was on the record as not supporting such a split. Other campus leaders favored the proposed split for academic and reputation reasons. - Keith Morrison (January 28, 1988) "Student leaders support UAB separation from UA System, but not for proposed reasons." UAB Kaleidoscope. Vol. 31, No. 4, p. 1
- The editors of the UAB Kaleidoscope called for a break, saying, "A group of legislators last week proposed that UAB split from the University
of Alabama system, in which case the University of Alabama at Birmingham would become the University of Birmingham. It's high time for UAB to break away from the constraints of the UA system and stand on its own. For too many years we have had to struggle under the iron fist of the Tuscaloosa dictatorship. Now is the time for us to seek independence so that we may grow and become the best institution we can possibly be. Of course, we must realize that being on our own wouldn't be easy but things that are really worthwhile are never easy. History has shown us that the struggle for independence is just that, a struggle. However, history has also shown us that the rewards of the struggle almost always outweigh the hardships. The bizarre thing about this whole situation is that those who seem to be truly concerned about the growth of UAB aren't on the Board of Trustees; in fact, it's no secret mat there are those on the Board who don't like UAB at all. The people who want UAB to grow are the county legislators. Well, at least we know who our friends are." - "Time for university to cut umbilical cord" (January 28, 1988) UAB Kaleidoscope. Vol. 31, No. 4, p. 1
- January 29, 1989: The Tuscaloosa News published an editorial entitled "Only a Genie Could Bring Football to UAB" by Tommy Stevenson. He was sharply critical of UAB's aspirations to start a football program:
When last we left the issue of a football program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (shortly after certain Jefferson County legislators attempted to turn an interim hearing on next year's finances for the UA system into an inquisition based on football dogma), the facts of life regarding the powers that be were being explained.
To wit: it doesn't matter if UAB Athletic Director Gene Bartow, the Birmingham Park Board, the Jefferson County legislative delegation, the Birmingham sports media, the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce or every Birmingham booster in that forlorn metropolis wants football at UAB: It's not going to happen until or unless a majority of the 15 members of the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees wants it.
And they don't. Period.
As UAB President Charles McCallum pointed out after the budget hearing, the most recent study on the subject showed that to just start a football program at his school would cost upward of $7 million. If the program ever is to break even, it would have to begin filling decrepit Legion Field with 50,000 or so fans very soon after the first kickoff.
That's not very likely to happen and the Board of Trustees is certainly not about to authorize throwing $7 million into a football program when, as McCallum said in a statement that should alert anyone who cares to look at the underlying realities of the issue, "how do you justify that kind of expenditure when I've still got faculty members being paid salaries less than the 50 percentile for the Southeast?"
Ah, but reality apparently has little to do with the way the sports guys in Birmingham, who continue to blithely claim it is time for UAB football, look at the world. Or how Bartow perceives things, either.
Those Birmingham boosters contend that UAB wouldn't really be in competition with the University of Alabama or Auburn University for players or fans. They point out that the state regularly sends players who aren't offered Tide or Tiger scholarships to such schools as Memphis State and Southern Mississippi.
At one point, Bartow even went so far as to suggest that football wouldn't really be that costly a proposition because they could use the facilities built at Legion Field for the late, unlamented Birmingham Stallions of the late, certainly unlamented United States Football League, for next to nothing. That is probably right. They say they could even use the old, hand-me-down Stallion uniforms.
Now let's see if we've got this straight: Bartow is suggesting using second-rate players, second rate uniforms, second-rate facilities to produce what? A second rate football team, of course.
And judging by the success of UAB's second-rate basketball team--which can't even fill tis new downsized 7,500 seat area--whom do the Birmingham boosters think they are kidding when they say they can have crowds large enough to make the program pay for itself?
But speaking of the new UAB Arena (which the Board of Trustees is refusing to name after Bartow, even though some members of the Legislature are attempting to force them to), perhaps if UAB must have football it can kill two birds with one stone.
Why not an arena football team for UAB---you know, like in that league ESPN invented to fill up dead air space?
- 1989: UAB began fielding a "club team" in football. Auburn coach Pat Dye supported UAB's efforts to create a football team. Alabama coach Bill Curry objected to adding a second football team to the UA system and said that the Crimson Tide is "Birmingham's team" and "as long as the city lives up to its commitments, we will continue to come to Birmingham." - Wayne Martin (February 12, 1989) "Dye would play Blazers, but Curry says no way." Birmingham News. (Alabama continued to play select home games at Legion Field through the 2003 season)
- May 3, 1989: Joseph Volker died.
- April 21, 1990: A nine-year extension of the University of Alabama's agreement to play three home games each year at Legion Field (through the 2001 season) was announced. The city agreed to $16 million in improvements to the stadium. The contract included a long-standing clause requiring permission from UA's athletic director to schedule more than two home games for any other college team at Legion Field. (Arrington, Richard (2008) There's Hope for the World: The Memoir of Birmingham, Alabama's First African American Mayor. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press)
- 1991: UAB's club football team began competing in NCAA Division III.
- November 1, 1991: Gene Bartow wrote letter to NCAA compliance official suggesting investigation into Alabama's basketball recruiting practices and also observing that multiple football coaches trained by Paul Bryant had recently been found in non-compliance.
- 1992: The NCAA created a rule barring Division III schools from fielding teams in Division I, meaning that UAB's football team had to move up to Division I to keep the Blazer's basketball team at that level. The reasoning was that D-III schools with a revenue-producing D-I football or basketball program would enjoy an unfair financial advantage.
- 1996: Murry Bartow succeeded his father as head coach of the Blazers men's basketball team.
- 1996: The UAB Blazers football team moved to Division I.
- 1999: UAB joined Conference USA in all sports. The 1999 UAB Blazers football team posted a 4-2 conference record, finishing 2nd in C-USA.
- 1999: The UABOT created an Athletics Committee, which more directly participated in operations of the athletics departments at the system's three universities.
- 2000: Watson Brown's 2000 UAB Blazers football team defeated Nick Saban's LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge on the way to a 7-4 record.
- 2000: Gene Bartow retired from the Athletic Director's office and was succeeded by Herman Frazier.
- June 24, 2000: Frank Bromberg Jr's resignation made room for Paul Bryant Jr to be appointed to the UABOT. The succession was engineered as a way to return a Tuscaloosa resident to one of the two seats representing the 6th Congressional District. It also prevented the likelihood of the State Senate having the opportunity to appoint a majority of members to the board. Interviewed at the time, Bromberg stated that "the friction [between campuses] would always be there as long as UAB continues to buck its traditional mission". The reporter noted that, "Board members believe it should be an urban college largely serving commuters. UAB continues to edge toward the trappings of a residential college. That was never more apparent than when UAB started a football team against the trustees' wishes." (Dewitt, Robert (June 9, 2000) "Longtime Alabama trustee departs" Tuscaloosa News)
- Bryant chaired a committee which established the Crimson Tradition Fund to raise capital contributions for the school's athletics programs. He contributed $10 million of his own fortune to the fund, which has been managed by the Crimson Tide Foundation since the creation of the non-profit in 2005.
- June 1, 2001: Ann Reynolds was fired by Chancellor Tom Meredith with approval of the BOT. She claimed to have been forced out due to her age and gender and filed a federal discrimination complaint. She did accept a one-year position as director of the UAB Center for Community Outreach and Development.
- October 2001: HealthSouth founder Richard Scrushy and Southern Living food editor Andria Hurst, both with undergraduate degrees from UAB, were appointed to the UABOT in place of Garry Neil Drummond and Sandral Hullet. ("Trustee selections should help board" (October 20, 2001) Tuscaloosa News)
- Fiscal 2001: UAB's overall athletic budget was $12 million, of which $7.5 million was covered by state funding and discretionary funds from the president's office.
- January 1, 2002: Malcolm Portera began his term of service as chancellor for the UA System, succeeding Thomas Meredith. He also spent part of his first year as interim president of UAB until hiring Carol Garrison that July.
- April 4, 2002: Mike Anderson was hired as head coach of the UAB Blazers men's basketball team.
- April 19, 2002: ("Black Friday") The UABOT passed a resolution submitted by Joe Fine, chair of the athletic committee, that required the UAB Blazers athletic department to eliminate its operating deficit within two years or be shut down. Herman Frazier responded by saying he could reduce the deficit by $1.1-1.2 million through better football revenues and donations. Fine was quoted as saying "It's been our experience that you can't start compromising until progress has been made and they [UAB's athletic department] haven't shown any interest in making progress." The resolution proved effective when used as a weapon by coaches recruiting against UAB. (link)
- May 24, 2002: Liberty National filed a lawsuit against the the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation and UAB Hospital alleging that it was overcharged for services provided to its policyholders. Starnes & Atchison filed a motion to dismiss on behalf of UAB. Among its arguments was one stating that the hospital should be designated as "Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama for its Division, University Hospital" in any such suit, and that it therefore enjoyed "sovereign immunity" from civil claims under the Alabama Constitution of 1901, Article I, Section 14 ("...the State of Alabama shall never be made a defendant in any court of law or equity.") The Alabama State Supreme Court ruled on September 19, 2003, "that UAB Hospital is protected by the doctrine of sovereign immunity from Liberty National's claims against it but that the UAB Health Services Foundation and the UAB Health System are not so protected."
- July 23, 2002: Carol Garrison, a UAB alumna, was appointed by the UABOT as the 6th President of UAB after two other candidates withdrew their names. When hired, Garrison said that "she was confident that the region could be persuaded to support the university's athletics -- which ran a $7.5 million deficit last year -- but if not, 'UAB has some decisions to make.' " (Mahoney, Ryan (July 23, 2002) "Carol Garrison named new UAB president." Birmingham Business Journal)
- Garrison oversaw the creation and implementation of a strategic plan for the university's programs and campus. A significant part of the plan addressed improvements to campus life for undergraduates, including a proposal for an on-campus football stadium.
- 2003: Football coach Watson Brown was named interim athletic director after Herman Frazier left for Hawaii. He took charge of a fund-raising effort that brought the deficit from $7.6 million to around $5 million.
- 2003: Facing criminal charges, UABOT member and UAB alumnus Richard Scrushy resigned his position on the board.
- 2003: Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida, DePaul and Marquette agreed to leave C-USA for the Big East conference, effective in 2005.
- July 11, 2003: Trustee John Russell Thomas acknowledged that the April 19, 2002 mandate to UAB "wasn't our finest hour." He added that "I voted for putting restrictions on UAB without thinking it all the way through," and "If UAB lost its athletic programs, it might lose students, and that would be a loss of revenue. You could shut it down and lose the same amount of money or more. You might not save what you think you would." (Tim Stephens (July 12, 2003) "Trustees to back UAB athletics." Birmingham Post-Herald)
- July 11, 2003: New UAB president Carol Garrison submitted a plan to continue reducing the athletics deficit year by year and succeeded in convincing the UABOT to rescind their ultimatum. The board issued a proclamation of support for UAB football at that time. (link). Trustee John McMahon said "There is no possibility the board would, on its own, suggest or do anything to undermine Division I athletics at UAB. The board is committed to having a viable Division I program at UAB and we're committed to do whatever it takes to make it viable." (Toraine Norris and Thomas Spencer (July 11, 2003) "Trustees eye Blazers' future." Birmingham News)
- 2004: The 2004 UAB Blazers football team, featuring All-American receiver Roddy White, reached the BCS Top 25, defeated Mississippi State, and were invited to the Hawaii Bowl
- 2004: The 2004 UAB Blazers basketball team earned a share of the C-USA championship and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament following a win over No. 1 seed Kentucky.
- 2005: The Crimson Tide Foundation was incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization "to promote and encourage a continuing interest in, and loyalty to, the intercollegiate athletic programs at the University of Alabama; to support the staff of the University's Department of Athletics in their efforts to coordinate, develop, maintain and improve a superior intercollegiate athletics program at the University." ("Crimson Tide Foundation Unveils New Website" (February 2, 2015) rolltide.com)
- 2005: The University of Alabama began offering financing to "University Student Organizations" (fraternities and sororities) for construction of residential options (fraternity houses and sorority houses). No such program has been authorized at UAB.
- 2006: Paul Bryant Jr was given chairmanship of the UABOT Athletics Committee.
- 2006: UAB head men's basketball coach Mike Anderson left the Blazers to become head coach of the Missouri Tigers. Mike Davis was hired as his successor.
- 2006: The 2006 UAB Blazers football team went 3-9, with several close losses and emerging issues with discipline and academic performance. Watson Brown agreed to step aside as football coach and become full-time Athletic Director. The UABOT blocked UAB's desire to promote assistant Pat Sullivan to head football coach. Later they blocked an agreement to bring Nick Saban's offensive coordinator at LSU, Jimbo Fisher, in as head coach.
- December 17, 2006: Neil Callaway was hired as UAB's football coach.
- 2008: The University of Alabama School of Medicine was renamed the UAB School of Medicine by authority of UAB president Carol Garrison and School of Medicine Dean Robert Rich. The change provoked objections of the University of Alabama Medical Alumni Association and its president Betty Ruth Speir, who claimed that only that UABOT had the authority to change the name of the school. She further claimed that UAB retaliated for her objections by restricting the association's access to alumni members and current students. (DeButts, Jimmy (November 9, 2008) "UAB medical school name change riles alumni" Birmingham Business Journal)
- November 11, 2008: In a 20-page report entitled "Study Options Requested by Chancellor Portera," the possibility of cutting football and moving to a non-football conference was considered. The result of the study, given to Malcolm Portera, was that football was kept. In the report, figures showed that UAB's athletic budget was 2.32% of the university's overall budget, well below the national average of 5% and the C-USA average of 6.43%. On the other hand the portion of that budget coming from internal support and student fees (58%) was higher than most other conference members.
- 2008: Asked to advise the University of North Carolina-Charlotte on the prospect of adding a football program, UAB AD Brian Mackin told them: "On the front-end there was a miscommunication with the Trustees in regard to the goals of adding football. There is a need to have ownership from the 'top down'—– total buy in. UAB has that now, but not sure we did originally." Provost Eli Capilouto was also interviewed. He made reference to a "real struggle in the state around student recruitment," and that "UAB has been trying to create a more traditional campus atmosphere." He noted that the presence of a marching band was helpful to the school's music program, but declined to say what effect the football team had on the university, its student experience or its financial performance. He added that the Blazers' home field was "old and in need of repair", and that "UAB doesn't have space on campus for a stadium." (Athletic Director Survey, UNC Charlotte Football Feasibility Committee)
- 2009: Callaway's 2009 UAB Blazers football team began to shape up with several quality transfers and QB Joe Webb.
- 2011: UAB prepared a funding plan for an on-campus stadium.
- 2011: The BOT decided to end the Respiratory Therapy program at UAB because equivalent programs are available at other schools.
- September 16, 2011: Paul Bryant, Jr succeeded Finis St John IV as president of the UABOT.
- September 16, 2011: The UABOT approved budgets for its three universities. Chancellor Malcolm Portera referred to the decline in state appropriations ($457.7 million for FY2012 vs. $615.6 million for FY2008) as "the new normal." UAB projects drops in federal grants and contracts as federal stimulus programs scale back. UAB's revenues in 2011 were 44% grants and contracts, 15% tuition. UAT's revenues were 40% tuition and fees, 10% grants and contracts. (Wolfson, Hannah (September 17, 2011) "University of Alabama System budgets depend on funds from students." Birmingham News)
- September 16, 2011: UAB vice president Richard Margison outlined UAB's plan for a 27,511-seat horseshoe-shaped football stadium on campus, which would be constructed for $75 million, in a presentation to the UABOT's Athletics Committee. Committee chair John McMahon told him, ""We are looking forward to you coming back in November or as early as you can to get this project on the road." (Irvine, Steve (September 16, 2011) "UAB outlines preliminary plans for on-campus football stadium" Birmingham News
- UA opened a research office in Huntsville to help identify opportunities for engineering research that could be performed by UA faculty in Tuscaloosa. Newly-appointed UAH President Robert Altenkirch categorized the move as "friendly competition." District 5 UABOT representative Ronald Gray (a UA alumnus), stated that the move would foster cooperation between campuses. (Paul Gattis (December 19, 2011) "UA trustee Ron Gray vows to work with committee to improve UAH relations with UA System" Huntsville Times)
- November 1, 2011: The UABOT released a statement saying, "A majority of the Board believes that an on-campus football stadium is not in the best interest of UAB, the University System or the state.", though no public discussion of the stadium had taken place in any board meeting and no votes taken. Trustee Paul Bryant, Jr explained to columnist Kevin Scarbinsky that the evident consensus "generally came out of the meeting that was held [in September] when it [the stadium] was brought up and discussed," and clarified that he got that sense from conversations with trustees after the meeting adjourned. (Scarbinsky, Kevin (November 3, 2011) "Paul Bryant Jr. says UAB's proposed football stadium project is dead." Birmingham News)
- November 3, 2011: The proposal for an on-campus stadium at UAB was removed from the Trustees' agenda without discussion. Scarbinksy spoke with Bryant, Jr after the meeting and Bryant explained that,
"To start with, it's very difficult for them to have a chance recruiting with the facilities they have. It's very difficult for them to recruit when they can't admit players from Birmingham that qualify under NCAA requirements (but not under UAB's higher requirements). It's tough being the Vanderbilt of Conference USA, and that's what they're having to try to do. My main interest in it is to support the players and the coaches. I think last Friday there was something written in (a Hot Corner in The Birmingham News) whether to pull for them to win the (Marshall) game or not because you didn't know who you wanted the coach to be. I think that was a horrible thing to write. If anybody's looking at it that way, they ought to be doing everything they can to support the team to win games right now."(Scarbinsky-11/3/2011)
- November 2011: Trustee Finis St John IV had the UAB National Alumni Society mail out a letter explaining why he removed the stadium proposal from the agenda. He cited challenges in maintaining excellence in health care and research as reasons to pull back on investments in athletics. (al.com) Bryant also spoke out, citing lack of attendance and financial support for the Blazers football program.
- January 3, 2012: Gene Bartow died.
- April 12, 2012: House Bill 684, sponsored by John Rogers, Williams (P), Mary Moore, Givan, Linda Coleman and Ball was given its first reading. If passed and approved by referendum, the bill would have amended the Alabama Constitution of 1901 to create separate Boards of Trustees for UAB and UAH and transfer the properties and liabilities pertaining to each campus to their respective boards. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Education Policy and never voted upon.
- August 2012: Carol Garrison announced her resignation from UAB and was succeeded by acting president Richard Marchase.
- November 1, 2012: Judy Bonner was named president of the University of Alabama
- February 7, 2013: The UABOT's Physical Properties committee unanimously approved, after heated discussion, UAB's purchase of two parcels on the west end of its campus. The immediate use of the property was remote parking, with part of the purchase consolidated with other UAB properties for redevelopment. The locations had, however, shown up on campus master plans as the site for a football stadium and parking lot. Committee member Finis St John IV insisted that "I would hope that we have an understanding in the future that when these kinds of negotiations and transactions are taking place, that it will not be done without notice to and approval by the appropriate member of this board." UAB vice president for financial affairs and administration Richard Margison replied with a request that the trustees "establish guidelines for informing the proper system officials without making land negotiations public." (Belanger, Evan (February 7, 2013) "UA System trustees raise concern over UAB plan to purchase downtown property" Birmingham News)
- February 8, 2013: Ray Watts was named president of UAB. Joe Espy, Marietta Urquhart, Andria Hurst and Finis St John IV were re-appointed to new terms on the board. Harris Morrissette was appointed to succeed Angus Cooper II.
- March 2013: The Crimson Tide Foundation purchased the Nick Saban residence in Tuscaloosa for $3.1 million and made it available to Saban and his family free of charge. (Kent Faulk (October 26, 2014) "Nick Saban sold home to Crimson Tide Foundation for $3.1 million in 2013." Birmingham News). As a non-profit, the foundation no longer pays taxes on the property. (Cohen, Rick (April 3, 2015) "Hail to the Houndstooth: The Distinctive Charitable Fundraising Arm of the University of Alabama" Nonprofit Quarterly)
- September 2013: John Johns, CEO of Protective Life, was appointed to succeed retiring UABOT member John McMahon. McMahon, a former McWane, Inc. executive, was also chairman of Protective Life's board.
- January 9, 2014: Football coach Garrick McGee resigned, having compiled a 5-19 record in two seasons.
- February 6, 2014: The Alabama Senate confirmed the new appointments made to the UABOT in 2013.
- April 10, 2014: CarrSports Consulting was asked by UAB vice president of financial affairs and administration Richard Margison to refocus their study of athletics operations from overall strategic planning to "providing a pair of pro formas: one showing UAB Athletics with football and one showing UAB Athletics without football." (from UAB Athletic Financial Analysis Committee meeting of December 19, 2014)
- August 11, 2014: Scheduled date for UAB to receive a final report from CarrSports, according to a "task list" from Sard Verbinnen & Co. public relations, leading to a projected September 30 "Announcement Day". (Scarbinsky - 3/23/15)
- August 31, 2014: UAB Vice president of Financial Affairs and Administration Richard Margison's retirement, announced in March, took effect.
- September 3, 2014: A 10-page draft report (plus exhibits) entitled "UAB Athletics Strategic Planning: NCAA Division I Considerations" by CarrSports Consulting was received by UAB. It was essentially identical to the final report dated November 18 which was used to justify the elimination of football and other sports. (Scarbinsky - 3/23/15). Drafts of proposed press releases to be used to communicate a planned decision to eliminate football and other sports made reference to figures from the report.
- September 5, 2014: A memo from Sard Verbinnen & Co. to UAB director of media relations Jim Bakken recommended postponing the announcement of the end of football, rifle & bowling to December 1 or 2, after the end of the regular season. A mid-season announcement, it was feared, could prompt football players to "react very badly," and possibly lead to "a critical mass of immediate transfer requests" or "a full team boycott." (Scarbinsky - 3/23/15)
- September 9, 2014: Date on an unattributed one-page document, "The University of Alabama at Birmingham: Athletic Department Announcement Key Messages." (Scarbinsky - 3/23/15)
- September 12, 2014: Date on an unattributed one-page list of "UA System Board of Trustees Talking Points Regarding UAB's Athletic Department Announcement." (Scarbinsky - 3/23/15)
- September 17, 2014: The originally-scheduled "Announcement Day" for the elimination of UAB's football, rifle & bowling programs. Public relations consultants later recommended delaying the announcement until the end of the football season. (Scarbinsky - 3/23/15)
- September 30, 2014: Another scheduled "Announcement Day", based on a final report being received from CarrSports on August 11. (Scarbinsky - 3/23/15)
- September 30, 2014: State of Alabama Education Trust Fund allocations: "For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2014, UAB received direct funding from the ETF in the amount of $264,072,721."
- October 1: G. Allen Bolton, Jr succeeded Richard Margison as UAB's Vice president of Financial Affairs and Administration
- October 28, 2014: The formation of a UAB Football Foundation was announced, promising millions of dollars in donations and calling for extending the contract for Coach Bill Clark.
- August-December 2014: Coach Bill Clark's 2014 UAB Blazers football team went 6-6 and inspired record attendance at home games in Legion Field.
- November 6, 2014: Amid speculation about the future of the football program, UAB President Ray Watts issued this statement:
"More than a year ago, UAB began the most comprehensive campus-wide strategic planning process in our history, calling for the 10 schools, College of Arts and Sciences, Honors College, Information Technology, Research Administration, and other units to develop individual strategic plans, set priorities and implement long-term goals.
Within that framework, the Athletic Department is conducting a full strategic review of its programs. The Athletic Department has engaged outside experts and is exploring a full range of options - not all of which will be implemented - to reach its desired results of sustained excellence.
Not surprisingly given the size of the program, one area of focus involves evaluating the investments in football and the resources necessary to achieve and sustain excellence now and into the future. We've been working for many months on this data driven process, and it would be counterproductive and inappropriate to speculate on outcomes based on an incomplete process -- not just related to athletics, but across the campus.
We are working to accelerate the timeline for completion of the strategic plan and will communicate with the UAB community in the near future. Although we certainly welcome input from our fans and supporters and value their enthusiasm, the fact is that rumor and innuendo will be distracting to our coaches and players who have big games in the coming weeks.
We are being careful and thoughtful in our disciplined process with lots of input - and we will reach the right outcomes for UAB."
- November 7, 2014: A $1.5 million donation from BBVA Compass for a new 2,500-seat on-campus soccer stadium was announced.
- November 7, 2014: Amid speculation about the future of the football program, Athletic Director Brian Mackin issued this statement:
"Like all areas across our campus, the Athletic Department is working on a strategic plan to maximize our resources and drive excellence. This process is critical to ensuring the best days of UAB Athletics are yet to come for our students, alumni, fans and community. "Coming out of this process, we will know what it takes -- from the institution, as well as supporters including our donors -- to best support our programs. My staff and I, and our consultants -- Carr Sports Consulting, a trusted adviser and expert in college athletics -- have invested a great deal of care in undertaking a department-wide strategic plan. As we close in on completing this initiative, we will make informed decisions that are supported by data and expert analysis. It would be premature to speculate about pending results, but I firmly believe this approach will lead to the most exciting era in UAB Athletics."
- November 18, 2014: A 10-page report (plus 47 pages of exhibits) entitled "UAB Athletics Strategic Planning: NCAA Division I Considerations" by CarrSports Consulting was released to the university. The report projected the financial impact of eliminating football, along with the women's rifle and bowling teams. It concluded that "the inclusion of Football, Bowling and Rifle would require an additional $25.3 million investment in annual operating revenue over the next five years." The report added that "with UAB maintaining the same institutional investment in Athletics, [eliminating football] presents positive net revenues of over $2.0 million, even with the addition of Men's Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, and Cross Country. These savings could enable UAB Athletics to reallocate resources to achieve competitive excellence." $49 million in planned new facilities was factored into the report, including new facilities for men's and women's soccer, softball, baseball, outdoor track, an indoor practice facility and administration building for football, and an outdoor football practice field. (Carr-11.18.2014). (The document was essentially identical to a draft dated September 3, 2014, with extra detail in the exhibits.)
- December 2, 2014: Amid speculation about the future of the program, UAB president Ray Watts announced that based on a financial report commissioned from Carr Sports Consulting, that the school's football program proved too expensive to maintain and would not be continued in 2015. Women's rifle and bowling teams were also discontinued. During the press conference, Watts said, "There were some who told us to eliminate football, some who suggested we do that when Garrick McGee quit." He further explained that the BOT had "no role in the strategic plan". (Davis, Bryan (December 2, 2014) "Watts: UA trustees had nothing to do with football decision." Birmingham Business Journal)
- December 2, 2014-: Watts was roundly criticized for the manner by which the decision was reached, and for the way it was announced. Public protests and rallies continued in the weeks following.
- December 4, 2014: The Executive Committee of the Birmingham Business Alliance issued a formal statement of support for Watts.
- December 5, 2014: An unattributed editorial in the Tuscaloosa News blamed lack of fan support for the death of UAB football, and concluded that, "UAB is a first-class medical research and training institution. The college attached to the medical school is and should be a commuter college with an urban campus for students who are unable or do not want to attend a residential college. Football did not fit with UAB’s mission." (link)
- December 9, 2014: The UAB Faculty Senate drafted a resolution of no confidence in president Ray Watts and a resolution of support for UAB athletics, to be voted on in January.
- December 17, 2014: University of Alabama president Judy Bonner announced her resignation, effective by September 2015.
- January 2, 2015: Brian Mackin signed a severance agreement with UAB entitling him to 6 monthly payments of $25,750 beginning March 1 and ending September 1, 2015. The contract includes a lengthy confidentiality clause.
- January 9, 2015: Ray Watts announced plans to form an independent UAB Athletics Assessment Task Force to select a firm to review the financial calculations made in the Carr Sports report.
- January 13, 2015: UAB's undergraduate student government association approved a vote of no confidence in president Ray Watts.
- January 15, 2015: The UAB faculty senate passed its two resolutions, expressing no confidence in Ray Watts and support for UAB athletics.
- 2015: State Representative Jack Williams (R-Vestavia Hills) introduced several pieces of legislation affecting the UABOT and UAB.
- As announced on November 25, 2014, one bill would eliminate the extra member of the BOT from Tuscaloosa's district and add eleven more seats to the board, including the mayors of Birmingham, Huntsville and Tuscaloosa; the commission president or county manager of Jefferson, Madison and Tuscaloosa Counties; three nominated by the governor, one from each of a pool of five names proposed by the alumni boards of each campus; and two at-large members appointed by the Speaker of the House the president pro tem of the Senate, respectively.
- As announced on January 7, 2015, one bill would require newly-appointed trustees of public universities and colleges to receive mandatory training in accreditation standards and compliance, and provides for trustees to be removed if they violate those standards.
- Also announced on January 7, 2015, a third bill would reverse UAB President Ray Watts' decision to terminate the football, bowling, and rifle teams at the university. (Underwood, Madison (January 7, 2015) "Bill to reverse UAB football decision part of a package of legislation Rep. Jack Williams plans to introduce." Birmingham News)
- February 6, 2015: The UABOT held a meeting at the UAB Alumni House, attended by dozens of Free UAB protesters holding signs. At the meeting Chad Epps, the chair of the UAB Faculty Senate, and Anjali Wagle, president of the UAB Undergraduate Student Government Association asked the board to seriously consider the votes of no-confidence in President Watts. The board took no action on those requests, but expressed support for Watts. Afterward, trustee Joseph Espy told reporters that, "the trustees would "absolutely" oppose any proposals of restructuring the board or creating a separate board for UAB because that would not be in the best interest of the state." (Kelsey Stein (February 6, 2015) "Still not convinced: UAB faculty, students remain distrustful of UA trustees, President Ray Watts." Birmingham News)
- March 8, 2015: The UAB Athletics Assessment Task Force selected OSKR, LLC of Emeryville, California to review the Carr report.
- March 13, 2015: The UAB administration informed the Athletics Assessment Task Force that its selection of OSKR to review the Carr report was unacceptable.
- March 19-21, 2015: Jerod Haase's UAB Blazers men's basketball team upset #3 seed Iowa State in round 2 of the NCAA tournament, and were then eliminated in round 3 by UCLA. Ray Watts attended the games in Louisville, Kentucky.
- March 23: The Birmingham News published documents from CarrSports and Sard Verbinnen & Co. (a firm recently used by Johnny Johns' Protective Life to mitigate fallout from its sale to Dai-Ichi) showing that both firms advised UAB of the possibility of negative repercussions if a decision to end the football program were made before the end of the season. They also advised UAB not to make the announcement immediately following a meeting of the board, to prevent "unwarranted speculation" about the BOT's involvement. An unattributed document dated September 12, 2014 provided "talking points" for members of the Board of Trustees, suggesting the phrase: "So we support the Athletic Department and administration's decision to make 2014-2015 the final season for men's football and women's rifle and bowling." (Kevin Scarbinsky (March 23, 2015) "Documents suggest UAB decided to kill football before the 2014 season began." The Birmingham News)
- April 23: OSKR released its report to the public, the completion of which was paid for by anonymous UAB boosters. (OSKR report) Using "conservative" estimates to fill gaps in readily-available figures, OSKR concluded that the football program, along with rifle and bowling, was likely to provide UAB with a net profit of $375,000 to $2.2 million per year, based on a community commitment of $1.2 million per year to supplement the athletic department and fund debt service on needed facility upgrades. Key departures in OSKR's calculations included a lowered "cost to attend" (vs. the stated value of scholarships) for athletes; more accurate projections for growing football revenues; more realistic projections for the cost to upgrade facilities; and factoring the cost of travel for remaining programs in the Missouri Valley or Ohio Valley Conference.
- August 2015: A UAB Athletics Campaign Committee chaired by Hatton Smith was convened to lead fund-raising efforts. The UABOT requested that the committee produce at least $2 million "in hand" by September 1 (four months in advance of the due date for first-year pledges) in order to keep to the schedule of returning football in 2017. That hurdle was met. A steering committee from the larger group began planning for a UAB Athletics Foundation to support the development of combined facilities for football and sports medicine research. (Kavin Scarbinsky (August 19, 2015) "UAB boosters develop pioneering foundation to support football, other sports." The Birmingham News, Kevin Scarbinksy (August 25, 2015) "UAB football supporters meet with UA trustees in search of common ground." The Birmingham News, Drew Champlin (August 31, 2015) "UAB meets first big financial goal toward return of football." The Birmingham News)
- September 4, 2015: Watts announced the UABOT's formation of a 22-member "UAB Liaison Committee" to improve communications between the board and UAB. (Drew Champlin (September 4, 2015) "UA System trustees announce 'UAB liaison committee' in hopes of improving communication" The Birmingham News)
- September 14, 2015: The BOT named attorney Clay Ryan vice-chancellor of the UA system.
- September 15, 2015: UAB and head football coach Bill Clark reached an agreement on a 5-year contract extension.
- February 5: The BOT gave preliminary approval to commission construction documents for a proposed $15.3 million football practice field and operations building to be completed in the Summer of 2017. (Kelsey Stein (February 5, 2016) "$15 million UAB football facility, turf field get greenlight from Board of Trustees." The Birmingham News)
- February 15-March 5: Coach Bill Clark held a spring practice with about 60 players.
- Ching, David (March 30, 2016) "How UAB football came back to life: An oral history" ESPN.com