#FreeUAB Worked. Would #FreeBU Have, Too?
Last November, football at AUB 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.
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