The University of Alabama at Birmingham will bring back its football program in 2016, the university announced Monday, reversing a controversial decision made in December to shut down the struggling program over its costs. “Given the broad base of support never before seen, as of today, we are taking steps to reinstate the football, rifle and bowling programs,” Ray Watts, the university's president, said in a statement. “I am forwarding documents to Conference USA and the NCAA notifying them that UAB plans to remain an FBS program and a full member of C-USA.”
Over the next five years, donors -- including alumni, students and the city of Birmingham -- have pledged to come up with the $17.2 million the university says is required to remain competitive, the Associated Press reported. UAB will maintain, but not exceed, its current level of institutional support to athletics, the university said. “To do otherwise would require us to take additional funds from our academic and health care missions, which we will not do,” Watts said.
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