UAB will review the future of football

9 Comments

There remains a glimmer of hope for the revival of UAB football. The university will vote on what to do with the future of the football program on June 1, UAB president Ray Watts has announced.

UAB announced a decision to shut down the football program in late November 2014. Despite being bowl eligible, the Blazers were left with no bowl invitation in the days following the decision to shut down the program. Watts informed the team of the decision in a meeting, which as you might imagine became a bit of an emotional scene.Conference USA has already made the decision to cut ties with UAB in the aftermath of losing the football program. Each Conference USA member must be a member in all sports, so the loss of football hurt UAB in that area, but if the school acts quickly to pretend it was all a bad dream then perhaps there is a chance Conference USA might reconsider its decision, which it should if UAB commits to bring football back to life.

Even if the school does vote to resurrect the freshly killed off program, it may be too late to play in 2015. Schedules have already been filled with the absence of UAB and players have gone one way or another after being allowed to transfer without penalty of sitting out a season. But head coach Bill Clark made the decision early on to refrain from exploring other opportunities on the off-chance UAB did bring back football. At this point, the earliest UAB football would be expected to be ready to play again would be 2016 at the earliest. And in that case, UAB will have made things so much more difficult for themselves then they ever needed to be.

Conference USA has already made the decision to cut ties with UAB in the aftermath of losing the football program. Each Conference USA member must be a member in all sports, so the loss of football hurt UAB in that area, but if the school acts quickly to pretend it was all a bad dream then perhaps there is a chance Conference USA might reconsider its decision, which it should if UAB commits to bring football back to life. UAB will have already lost out on one recruiting cycle entirely, and now whatever football staff is available will have to sell recruits that there really is a stable future at the school. That might be a tough pitch to take too seriously right now.

UAB supporters recently raised $6 million specifically to fund football. One study following the shutting down of the program revealed football was financially viable, which disputed the original logic for shutting the program down in the first place.

Free UAB.

UPDATE (4:35 p.m.): Here is a copy of the letter shared by Watts, courtesy of UAB;

Students, faculty and staff,
As you likely know, we are anticipating receipt on May 15 of the College Sports Solutions (CSS) review, commissioned by the Athletic Assessment Task Force, of what CSS projects it would cost to invest adequately in our current athletics programs and reinstate and support football, rifle and bowling programs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The Task Force was also charged with determining what financial resources are needed beyond what UAB has previously committed to its athletic programs in order to reinstate a consistently successful football program and to determine if external, private funding exists to sustain such an effort.

Again, the report is due May 15, 2015. The UAB senior leadership team will be consulting with various stakeholders within the UAB community. We will consider the report’s findings, along with other important, valuable and mission-critical data, in order to make the best decision for UAB going forward, guided by our vision, mission and strategic plan.

We plan to make an announcement by June 1. This announcement will be made via our website, social media channels and by email when an official decision has been reached.

With best wishes,

Ray L. Watts

President

USF debuts new, lightweight Adidas threads

Getty Images
1 Comment

I’m not sure if you knew this, but it can get hot in Tampa in the early fall. Humid. Steamy. Muggy. Downright uncomfortable. Sweat is a part of life there, especially if you’re spending your Saturday afternoons running around in full pads and a helmet.

As such, South Florida figured it’d be to their advantage to wear lightweight, breathable uniforms, and Adidas has produced.

On Tuesday, USF debuted a brand new WVN A1 uniform, the German-based manufacturer’s lightest uniform. USF was certain to point out they will be the only team in the threads this season.

“We are very excited that in the second year of our partnership with adidas our football team will be the only one in the country wearing their lightest weight uniforms,” USF AD Michael Kelly said in a statement. “We look forward to the Bulls looking great and feeling great in the new lightweight, breathable material.”

The design itself is slightly different from what the Bulls wore previously, solid green or white with green shoulders, cresting into golden bull horns on each side, above a solid color pant. The metallic material that comprises the golden Bull horn on each shoulder was developed in Israel.

Everyone has their own opinion when it comes to uniforms, but in this set of eyes these kits are a massive step up from the chainmail-style Adidas template South Florida wore previously, shown above.

The new, lightweight uniforms will take the field for the first time on Friday, Aug. 30 vs. Wisconsin (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).

K-State WR Hunter Rison, formerly at Michigan State, reportedly pursuing second transfer

Getty Images
1 Comment

Kansas State wide receiver Hunter Rison will pursue a second transfer in as many years, according to reports Tuesday from GoPowercat and the Wichita Eagle.

The son of Michigan State great Andre Rison, Hunter signed with his father’s alma mater in 2017 and caught 19 passes for 224 yards as a freshman before transferring to Kansas State. After sitting out the 2018 season, as per NCAA transfer rules, Rison shined in spring practice, but his career as a Wildcat was instantly derailed when he was arrested for domestic battery in April.

Rison was immediately suspended from the team, though he maintains his innocence. Charges have not been filed, and his first court appearance in the civil case related to the charge is scheduled for July 16.

“This will be my only response,” Rison wrote on Twitter at the time. “I will continue to be myself … A man of God, as well as a great student-athlete at this university. I have done nothing wrong.”

Report: Suspended Texas LB will not return to team

Getty Images
1 Comment

Texas linebacker Demarco Boyd will continue to be a UT student but no longer a Longhorn football player, according to Anwar Richardson of Orangebloods.

Boyd, a linebacker out of Gilmer, Texas, was suspended last season after he was arrested for an alleged assault last July.

According to Richardson, Boyd will remain in school until his graduate transfer, when he will pursue a graduate transfer elsewhere. A 3-star member of UT’s 2016 class, Boyd redshirted his first year on campus and played sparingly in his one season on the active roster.

He is the younger brother of former Texas cornerback Kris Boyd, a 2019 seventh-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings.

FCS McNeese State adds four transfers from FBS schools

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Particularly on the offensive side of the ball, Sterlin Gilbert‘s first-year roster at McNeese State will have a decidedly FBS look to it.

Earlier this month, the Cowboys announced the addition of four transfers from the FBS level to the roster — fifth-year senior wide receiver Rhashid Bonnette (Louisiana Tech), redshirt sophomore running back D’Andre Hicks (Appalachian State), redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Damien DeGruy (Fresno State) and third-year junior running back Elijah Mack (South Florida). As McNeese State plays at the FBS level, all four of the players will be eligible to play immediately in 2019.

Bonnette also comes to Lake Charles as a graduate transfer from Tech.

During his time in Ruston, Bonnette totaled 1,065 yards and three touchdowns on his 74 receptions. 22 of those catches, 300 of the yards and one of the touchdowns came this past season.

Mack, one of a handful of suspended Bulls ultimately dismissed from Charlie Strong‘s program late last year, ran for 59 yards on 14 carries in 10 appearances during his time at USF and will be a third-year junior this season.

After moving from the defensive backfield to the offensive backfield between the 2017 and 2018 campaigns, Hicks rushed for 185 yards and a touchdown in the first six games last year as a redshirt freshman before going down with a season-ending injury.

DeGruy played in a total of 16 games during his time with the Bulldogs, including a dozen as a true freshman in 2017. During that time, he was credited with eight tackles.