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UAB Announces Return Of Football Program For 2017

It has been an long, weird off-season for UAB football, which was shut down in December after a 6-6 season amid backlash, and eventually reinstated on June 1. While the move really hurts a program that was building some momentum under head coach Bill Clark, the most important thing is that the Blazers will see the field again. Today, UAB Athletics announced that football would return for the 2017 season. They've also announced a timetable for the reinstatement of the bowling and rifle teams, which were cut along with football.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham announced Tuesday it is working on plans to resume rifle competition this year, bowling in 2016 and football in 2017.

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“I am so excited that UAB Football will return to FBS competition in 2017,” head football coach Bill Clark said. “Like our fans, I wanted to light the scoreboard much sooner, but doing it right is more important than doing it fast, and this was our best option. We want a program that is here to stay. We have to start by building a new, stronger foundation. We need to take our time to do it right, then we can compete for conference and bowl championships.

“I want to thank our conference, the UAB administration, and the NCAA for working with us to make this possible,” Clark said. “Most importantly, I want to thank the Blazer Nation. The love and support from UAB fans has been incredible. Please don't stop. We still have a lot to do and we need all of you. Go Blazers!”

UAB will be able to return as an FBS program in 2017, and will be immediately bowl eligible. 

Conference USA is also working with UAB, which plans to be a member of the league upon reinstatement.

Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky said, “We have been working with UAB on their plan to restore football.

“We particularly appreciate the role the NCAA has played in helping ensure that UAB will be able to maintain its status as an FBS institution,” Banowsky said. “Regarding their timeline, we have said all along we want them to restore football but to do it the right way and be fully committed.

“We truly hope UAB is aspirational and that their plan intends to realize the wonderful opportunity they have going forward,” Banowsky added. “If playing a conference schedule in 2017 makes the most sense for the ultimate long term success, then we will continue to work with them toward that goal.”

Whether UAB would return as an FBS program and retain Conference USA membership were both major questions after the announcement that the program would be brought back. It is very unfortunate that UAB football had to go down this road at all, after being cut for what seem like tenuous reasons, but we're glad to see that the Blazers are on their way back, and have a firm date announced.

[UAB Sports]