The seniors on Alabama-Birmingham's football team wrote a letter to UAB president Ray Watts in response to a report that the football program will be shut down.
Sports Illustrated's Thayer Evans reported over the weekend that UAB will fire athletic director Brian Mackin and end the football program later this week. On Monday, Watts issued a statement saying the athletic department is "conducting a full strategic review of its programs," including football, but "it would be counterproductive and inappropriate to speculate on outcomes based on an incomplete process."
The team's senior class wrote the letter to Watts on behalf of the team, asking him to either fight for the team or "look us in the eye and tell us you don't believe in us."
The Blazers went 6-6 in 2014, becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2004.
From the letter, which can be read in full here:
We have been uplifted by the business leaders in our community who rallied around us and told you that when we win, all of Birmingham wins. We have felt the continuous support from our fellow students, our professors, our alumni, and Blazer fans as attendance at our games grew almost 150% this year. And we have been driven by the support from our own coaches who have shown us the very meaning of the word commitment as they have fought for this university and for us even as their own livelihoods have grown more and more uncertain.
We are honored to play for all of these people.
So if everyone is for us, Dr. Watts, who exactly is against us?
Every one of us has fought for UAB football all year long. Many of us have fought for UAB football every day for the last four years. When we were recruited, we were sold on the very best of what UAB can be, and how UAB would in turn, make us our best. We believed in UAB then, and we believe in UAB now - which is why we will not stop fighting for what is right.
So we ask you to provide the leadership and direction we need. Stand up for your students and alumni. Stand alongside the businesses, leadership and people of Birmingham. And fight for us.
Or, with all due respect, look us in the eye and tell us you don't believe in us.
- Molly Geary