Future of UAB football in serious jeopardy

It appears that UAB does not have a bright future as a football program.

Head coach Bill Clark told ESPN's Joe Schad on Sunday that he believes the school's football program is going to be shut down.

"I think it's going to happen," said Clark, who just finished his first regular season with the school.

"Unless something changes before the weekend ends, I think it's over. I think the odds are very high it ends this week. To shut the doors? That's sad."

The Blazers are 6-6 and eligible for a bowl game, but a postseason berth for the first time in a decade is not guaranteed.

According to the ESPN story, Clark has been in contact with officials from the school and Conference USA, and the school had been evaluating such things as fiscal feasibility. UAB has made improvements both on the field and in the NCAA's academic ratings, and Clark was able to get financial pledges to help with improvements such as athletic facilities. However, the school was taking a cautious approach on any matters that involve any future football commitments. The football program is overseen by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees, and it could be ready to kill it despite the strides made under Clark. Since starting as a member of Division III in 1991, a lack of funding and on-field success have plagued the Blazers.

Clark, who was a highly successful Alabama high school coach, was hired by UAB away from Jacksonville State (AL) as a first-year college head coach. He is working on a three-year contract through 2016, but UAB has no nonconference games scheduled beyond that season. Not only have current players been dealing with the distraction of an unknown future, but some recruits have decommitted because of the speculation. And now it is unknown if Clark will even have an office to go to this offseason.

If UAB drops its football program, its men's basketball team and other sports teams may have to depart C-USA. The league's bylaws require members to be an FBS school in football.

Dave Miller, the college football editor for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.

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