The University of Alabama-Birmingham announced that it will reinstate its football program for the 2016 season. The announcement comes six months after university president Ray Watts announced the school would drop the program.
The program was shut down after the school believed the program would be losing money. The school said the cost of football over the next five years would grow to $49 million, including $22 million for facility upgrades.
But an outpouring of support came down after the school announced it would shut the program down. Over 600 pledges have been made and over $27 million has been raised to help cover the deficit, according to Justin Craft, a chair of the UAB Athletics Assessment Task Force.
A major college football program hadn’t been shut down since Pacific in 1995. While UAB played third wheel in state to Auburn and Alabama, the team finished 6-6 last season and doubled it’s average attendance.
After the initial report saying that it would cost $49 million to for the next five seasons came out, a second report said that the team would operate with about a $3 million deficit. But the report said bringing the program back would “foster much goodwill and stimulate a substantial amount of spiritual and financial support from alumni, donors, ticket holders, friends, students, faculty and the community” in addition to “positive national attention to the University.”