The jury is still out on what new Vanderbilt chancellor Daniel Diermier will work to do as far as the university's athletic facilities. Yet, as fan unrest and distrust continues to grow, it's clear that the time is now to do something.
I met Diermier on Saturday night during halftime of the LSU game. He made the rounds and was personally introduced to each member of the local media pool in attendance. The conversation wasn't long, possibly a minute, and I felt it wasn't the time to ask probing questions. That would likely have ended things sooner.
It's hard to take much from a short introduction, but the new chancellor seemed very friendly and willing to meet and talk to people. None of that speaks to his plans, but he seemed down to earth as a highly accomplished academic man.
Now let's turn attention south where in Birmingham, the University of Alabama, Birmingham, who in 2014 shut down their football program and several other sports in their entirety. The reason, money.
On June 1, 2015, it was announced that due to the public opinion and the fundraising of more than $27 million towards the program, the UAB Blazers football program would be reinstated to begin play as early as the 2016 season.
A program dead to the world and inactive managed to raise $27 million when they weren't even playing.
On Wednesday, UAB tweeted pictures of the construction of their brand new football stadium currently being built. How is this possible for a university athletic department struggling for cash in 2015 to not only have raised $27 million in a single year to now be funding the construction of a new football stadium?
The Blazers are not doing it alone, as the city of Birmingham and her citizens are footing part of the bill, something that would seem very unlikely to happen in Nashville for Vanderbilt.
The entire Birmingham stadium has been estimated at $200 million, and once completed, the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex will operate the facility.
Even though Vanderbilt would not likely receive help from the city of Nashville for any new stadium construction, the fact that the Blazers were able to raise such a large amount of funds in one short year could serve as a blueprint for the Commodores.
Vanderbilt's administration and athletic department have known of the issues surrounding their athletic facilities for a decade or more, yet have failed to at least publicly address them. We've been told of a master facilities plan, but as of yet, there have been no definitive plans set forth.
Perhaps that will change under Diermeir, or maybe things will continue forward still mired in the status quo. For fans, the status quo isn't going to cut it any longer, and what's happening in Birmingham is fueling them.