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UAB revives football, kills MVC expansion fun

In what will go down as one of the silliest and most expensive moves in college athletics, UAB is bringing back football six months after the school axed the program.

Dropping football made some sense. Keeping football made some sense. Doing one in December and then the other in June is a failure on many levels.

Most important, to us, is that it kills the chance of UAB joining the Missouri Valley Conference and all the fun of expansion theories.

Had UAB dropped football, it would have needed a new conference and the MVC made sense. The idea intrigued MVC officials, who liked Birmingham and liked UAB’s basketball history and support. Done deal? Not at all. Serious option? I think so. UAB, according to media reports, also would have looked at the Atlantic 10, Colonial and the Sun Belt.

Geographically, it’s a bit of a stretch (Evansville and Southern Illinois are within six hours driving time). But adding UAB likely would have meant adding a 12th member and Belmont (in Nashville) generated some interest and speculation after Creighton departed. I’m a big supporter of 10 schools because of the round-robin basketball format, but UAB seems to carry enough benefits to break that routine.

While I don’t expect any MVC expansion soon, I would, based on the informal conversations regarding UAB and the Valley, expect further growth to come from schools in large cities. TV market size is going to be the prime consideration, if the MVC gets to that point.

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