The making of a Blazer
by Jennifer Cohron
Dec 02, 2012 | 1778 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jennifer Cohron
Jennifer Cohron
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I was amused by a Facebook photo I saw recently that read, “I wear a UAB shirt because I went to UAB. You wear an Alabama shirt because you went to Walmart.”

For the record, I own both.

A lot of people seem to be confused about my collegiate allegiance since I wrote a column about Wyatt being Aubie for Halloween this year.

Something about my tone or the fact that I wasn’t disturbed by his choice of costume apparently gave everyone the impression that I am an Auburn fan. I am not.

Yet lately when I have been asked, “Aren’t you an Alabama fan?” I open my mouth but nothing comes out.

That’s a little odd considering how much money I have spent on championship merchandise for Zac in the past three years.

Also, I grew up rooting for the Crimson Tide in every Iron Bowl and have watched a vastly disproportionate number of Alabama games compared to Auburn ones.

So why am I suddenly having a problem saying that I’m an Alabama fan?

As I gave some thought to this question, I realized it might be because I have stronger feelings for my alma mater than have ever bubbled to the surface before.

Auburn is Alabama’s most well-known state rival, but I would argue that no campus oozes more hostility toward UA than UAB.

Although UAB is in the UA system, there are some professors who will threaten to throw students out of class for wearing red and white apparel. Having transferred from there isn’t a good enough excuse. “You’re at UAB now. Buy some new shirts,” said student will be told.

The root of the problem is that the two universities share a board of trustees. Most of the decisions made by the board seem to have the singular goal of asserting UA’s dominance and reminding UAB that it has always been and will always be the redheaded stepchild of higher education.

The fact that approximately two thirds of the revenue in the UA system comes from UAB is just an inconvenient truth.

Last fall, a lot of UAB students and alumni got up in arms when the board refused to consider a proposal regarding the need for an on-campus stadium.

For those who don’t know, the Blazers play at Legion Field, which is quite old, is much larger than the fan base needs and frankly is in a part of town that no one wants to get caught in after dark.

Legion Field is frequently cited as the reason that a lot of students wouldn’t go to a UAB game if you paid them. Of course, an abysmal record has a little something to do with that as well.

How bad are we?

We’re so bad that we lost just as many games as Auburn this year and nobody noticed.

We’re so bad that one year Alabama’s off-week got more coverage in the Birmingham News than the fact that UAB played that Saturday and won.

We’re so bad that we’ve had a football program since 1991 and have only made it to one bowl game. True to form, we lost.

There’s no way to sugarcoat our record — 110-137-2.

Honestly, I don’t care if UAB ever has a decent team or gets an on-campus stadium. I’m pretty proud of the fact that sports isn’t what makes us a powerhouse.

An economic impact study released a few years ago referred to UAB as “an economic engine, directly or indirectly affecting nearly every resident of the state of Alabama.”

Among other things, the report said that $1 in every $36 in Alabama’s economy is supported by UAB, $1 in every $25 in the state’s budget is generated by UAB and one out of every 33 jobs in the state is attributable to UAB

For every $1 invested by the state in UAB, $16.23 is generated in the economy.

These dollar amounts don’t take into account the value of all of the groundbreaking research that is churned out of UAB every year.

Championships are cool and all, but I’d rather talk smack about accomplishments like this.