You can file this footage of the UAB Blazers under “tough to watch.”
Yesterday, after the University of Alabama at Birmingham announced it was shutting its football program down for good — citing financial reasons as the primary cause — fans and students erupted in emotional outbursts.
The players, naturally, experienced a meltdown of their own feelings.
In a video shot during a private meeting between the university’s president, Ray Watts, and UAB football players and staff, senior tight end Tristan Henderson shouted:
My son asked me last night, ‘Hey Daddy, what are they going to do to the program?’ He looked me dead in my eye and asked me, ‘What are they going to do?’ My 3-year-old … what am I supposed to explain to him?
UAB is cutting its bowling and rifle programs along with football, a move putting its status in Conference USA in jeopardy. Conference USA requires schools to have football programs as a requisite for membership. Without a football team, it seems UAB is likely headed out of the conference.
There is also the effect the cutting will have on the student-athletes. They now face the possibility of losing scholarships immediately after a season during which they went 6-6, becoming bowl eligible for the first time in over a decade.
Watts, though, while announcing the decision, basically stated that the school does not have the money to keep the team afloat. He said,
As we look at the evolving landscape of NCAA football, we see expenses only continuing to increase. When considering a model that best protects the financial future and prominence of the athletic department, football is simply not sustainable.
That reasoning, still, did nothing to calm the emotions of the Blazers football team, as is evident in the video shown above.