Conference USA has communicated to UAB that the league won’t amend its bylaws to keep the Blazers without football, according to sources familiar with the discussions.
UAB dropped football in December and has a study from a consultant expected to be released by May 15 on whether the school made the right decision in cutting the sport. Conference USA’s executive committee meets in June and will formally vote on UAB’s future. But there is not interest from two-thirds of C-USA’s presidents to change the league’s bylaws requiring football as a condition of membership.
Assuming UAB doesn’t reinstate football for 2016, the school will most likely be a C-USA member for one more academic year in 2015-16, given the short timeframe for the Blazers to find a new home. C-USA is reluctant to kick out UAB and leave its sports without playing schedules.
UAB would not receive a full revenue share next year in C-USA if it stays. UAB is expected to receive about $2.2 to $2.4 million this fiscal year from C-USA. The College Football Playoff is expected to be worth about $800,000 for UAB. C-USA's postseason football revenue increased by about 500 percent this year due to the CFP compared to past revenue from the Bowl Championship Series.
When UAB eliminated football, bowling and rifle in December, the report the university used did not include a financial model accounting for no C-USA revenue. The Missouri Valley Conference has been discussed as a possible home.
UAB president Ray Watts previously appealed to C-USA presidents for the school to remain a member without football. UAB and Southern Mississippi are the only remaining C-USA charter members that have never left.
In a statement released Wednesday, UAB spokesman Jim Bakken said the university has worked closely with Conference USA “and we appreciate the candid and productive dialogue over these months. Out of respect for the process, CUSA and its member institution presidents, it would be inappropriate to speculate on conference affiliation and related issues prior to the June conference meeting when we have yet to see results of the [College Sports Solution) review and private fundraising efforts as we reevaluate the football decision.”
Meanwhile, UAB has identified three candidates to be its next athletic director, as first reported by AL.com: Arkansas senior associate athletic director Jon Fagg; Iowa State senior associate athletic director David Harris; and Temple associate vice president/executive senior associate athletic director Mark Ingram. UAB is in the unusual position of trying to hire a new athletic director before another study is completed about the decision to eliminate the three sports.
“A specific date to have the new AD in place has not yet been determined,” Bakken wrote via email. “Our search committee has identified a number of impressive candidates, and we have been pleased with the quality of applicants. On-campus interviews will conclude in the near future. Once feedback on the candidates is received, we will be in a position to begin negotiations.”