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New UAB football feasibility study underway as Free UAB movement continues

Three months after UAB President Ray Watts announced the end of Blazer football, students continue to protest the university administration's decision. UAB President Ray Watts based that decision on the Carr report. A new, independent feasibility study is underway to see if the numbers match up. The task force hired OSKR, a firm based in California that has knowledge of intercollegiate athletics. OSKR will work with an accounting firm on the new study. Students are holding on to hope this report could bring back blazer football. "What we're trying to accomplish is just let people understand that we're not going anywhere and let them know that this decision affected the whole community," said Tim Alexander, a student leader for the movement. Alexander says hundreds of students are taking buses to Montgomery Tuesday morning to lobby at the State House. "What we're doing is we're trying to Free UAB, free UAB football, bowling and rifle and get us our own board of trustees and that's what we're trying to do today and tomorrow," said Alexander. Representative Jack Williams of Vestavia Hills will also be at the rally in Montgomery. This week, he plans to file three bills tied to UAB. The first is to reinstate football. "In 1948, the legislature threatened to withhold funding from Alabama and Auburn if they did not play football," Williams told ABC 33/40. "So there's historical precedence for the legislature being involved in this process." The second bill requires sacs training for trustees. The third bill expands the board's makeup to include more representation from Birmingham and Huntsville. "There's no doubt this is going to be a priority," explained Williams. "I would say the top five issues we're going to face in this legislative session are the budget hole, prison reform, UAB, Charter schools." Meanwhile, results for the new football feasibility study are due back April first. "It's a step in the right direction but at the same time, we must not give up and we still must not retreat. We have to continue moving forward," said Alexander.

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