Tag Archives: FBS

Digging into the UAB athletics announcement: All eyes shift to Ohio and Kent State University

kent stateKent State University announced on Monday, January 19, that it was entering into a $35,000 contract to assess their athletics department. According to the report filed by Rick Armon for the Akron Beach Journal on Tuesday, one of the objectives of this study (already underway and being conducted by Collegiate Sports Associates, a consultancy based in West End, North Carolina.

This is the first university participating in NCAA Division I FBS competition to publicly announce an athletics assessment since UAB’s announcement discontinuing their football, bowling, and rifle teams in early December. One of the major issues being considered is the effect of the cost-of-living adjustment voted on during the NCAA convention last week; it would lead to Kent State having to spend an additional $1.1 million a year if no changes were made to the department (as reported by the Beach Journal and the Miami Herald).

Using the methodology employed in creating our database yesterday, we’ve collected the following data about Kent State:

Total Revenue – Athletics (2013): $26,557,674
Total Expenses – Athletics (2013): $27,116,813
Athletics Subsidy (2013): $20,558,816
% of athletic budget = subsidy (2013): 77.41
% of overall general budget from state appropriation: 25.9%
Change in % from 1987-2012: -22.7%

If Kent State were in Conference USA, it would have the second highest athletics budget subsidy of any member school, with only FIU (at 77.54%) being higher. It is not, however, the highest in its conference, the Mid-American Conference; it is second. That honor belongs to Eastern Michigan,  at 80.46%.

UAB and the larger Division I picture (and things to keep in mind about Legion Field)

UAB students watch the announcementAs we watched events unfold alongside students on Tuesday, much of the focus on UAB president Ray Watts’s announcement about the discontinuation of the football, bowling, and rifle teams has focused on UAB being the first NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) school to do so since 1995. It’s important, but it’s necessary to look at the bigger picture in Division I in order to see a larger trend and to find a possible solution.

A review of a list of discontinued football programs shows that UAB is the sixteenth Division I school overall to make the choice in that time period.

Institution State Year discontinued

Current total enrollment

University of the Pacific CA 1995


Boston University MA 1997


University of Evansville IN 1997


California State University, Northridge CA 2001


Canisius College NY 2002


Fairfield University CT 2002


St. John’s University (New York) NY 2002


East Tennessee State University TN 2003


St. Mary’s College of California CA 2003


Siena College NY 2003


St. Peter’s University NJ 2006


La Salle University PA 2007


Iona College NY 2008


Northeastern University MA 2009


Hofstra University NY 2009


University of Alabama at Birmingham AL 2014


The majority of those schools compete in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) with 10 out of 16 located in the Northeast — the place where football was born; three other schools are located in California (including the largest of them, Cal State Northridge with more than 38,000 currently enrolled). It may not seem like it makes sense to talk about the FCS schools until you realize the most recent example of a relaunched program comes from those ranks — East Tennessee State University. As you can see above, the program did close in 2003, but is scheduled for a return next fall. The full explanation is included as part of an editorial over on Dear Birmingham.

Legion Field

Another angle that has received significant attention these last two days is the potential fate of Legion Field. The Football Capital of the South. Realize if all options are on the table, there are two things that need to be remembered.

Legion Field is McLendon Park — the football stadium is located within the largest piece of property dedicated to park use in the city of Birmingham. (Yes, Red Mountain Park is huge, but it’s technically overseen by a state commission; Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve is as its name change states, a preserve, and its managed by a non-profit organization.) If (as unlikely as it should be) considered options include demolition, file away the fact that it means we could see the land transformed into the city’s largest park. This could be seen as a catalytic project for the surrounding blocks.

Non-park use requires a public vote — Yes, it’s true. The property is dedicated for purposes related to parks and recreation. According to the city code, if it is to be used for any other purpose, a public referendum will need to be held and it pass in order for that new type of solution to move forward. The called meeting of the city’s Parks and Recreation board to discuss possible options is currently scheduled for next Monday.