There has been plenty of huge stories on the field over the last few weeks in college football, but one of the biggest stories involves a small program that has played its last game. The UAB Blazers program has been shut down, which was not well received at all, especially by its playersand fans of the team. School president Dr. Ray Watts has been the main target from critics, and he released a statement today admitting that the process that was taken in shutting down the program was flawed:
I want to thank all of you for all of your hard work and dedication to our great university. Like you, I love UAB and deeply regret the way our recent process was handled and particularly the way it was announced. The buck stops with me.
In recent days our wonderful community has been divided and trust has been lost. That is the truth and it is now something that requires all of us, over time, working together to repair.
In recent days I have had many meetings with members of the UAB community to express my regret for recent actions, discuss the basis for my decision regarding changes in athletics, but most importantly talk about how we can make sure that we create a process that produces open, constructive dialogue and unity in the future.
I love UAB with all of my being and I am totally dedicated to the long term success of this university. While mistakes in the process were made in recent days I ask that you walk with me as we find our way forward. My focus is on the future and the great things we are yet to achieve here at UAB.
Birmingham Business Journal had some more damning details about some of the flaws in the process.
Frank Messina, faculty athletics representative and accounting professor at UAB's Collat School of Business, said that the UAB administration never involved him or any of the other faculty senate members during the months leading up to the decision. Messina said he directly approached UAB Vice President of Financial Affairs Allen Bolton with potential financial alternatives, but he never heard back.
While it doesn't sound like there is any real chance of this reversing course, it is nice to see Watts admit that he handled things poorly. It is the least he can do.