Here we discuss the possibility of UAB football getting a new stadium, and make another plea for an on-campus stadium.
We are entering week five of the college football season and UAB gets a bye before they host two straight home games at Legion Field. After four games, two being at home, I think it is pretty obvious to say that Legion Field is really, really old. UAB needs a better place to play its home games. After years of talk about having a stadium built downtown, it seems as if those talks have gone silent once again.
Colorado State opened its brand new on-campus stadium this year and defeated Oregon State 58-27 in week one in front of 37,853 fans. The Rams had previously played at an off-campus stadium about three miles away from their campus. Many have called this a “game-changer” for the Rams. Colorado State waited 50 years, but finally built something on campus. The scene in Fort Collins, Colo. was electric as fans were able to tailgate, students were within walking distance of the stadium, and many former alumni and players were back on campus for the game. If Colorado State has a new on-campus stadium, there is no reason that UAB can’t either. Heck, even North Texas had a sweet new stadium the Blazers traveled to this past weekend.
I know what many of you are thinking; how would UAB pay for this stadium, and where would they put it? I just want to be clear that I hate when people say, “UAB doesn’t have any money.” — this just isn’t true. Look at all the new buildings going up on campus as we speak — UAB has money.
The location of the on-campus stadium is the tricky part. I’ve said for two years now the best place to have it would be where all the land at the West Campus fields are at. You could make it into a multi-purpose stadium with a track, and have turf so other teams could practice on it if needed. It looks as if UAB has already committed to building a new track facility on this lot though, so I am not really sure the next best spot for its location.
The last option would be waiting on the city of Birmingham to actually do something and build a stadium downtown. I’m still not 100 percent convinced this would be the best move for the Blazers, but getting a new place to play in would be pretty awesome.
Since the program was shut down in December of 2014, two years in a way have been wasted when it comes to the advancement of building a new stadium. A lot of talk, no action. We know the BOT isn’t going to do UAB any favors when it comes to this situation, so it puts the Blazers in a real mess.
Ideally, a new 30,000-35,000 on campus stadium is what UAB needs and should stride towards. For the Blazers to continue this momentum with its football program returning, a new place to play is a must.
College sports have become an arms race of facilities, and programs all across the country are coughing up the Benjamins and getting the latest and greatest technology on their campus. There is no reason UAB can’t have a nice stadium to play in. We aren’t asking for JerryWorld or the new Mercedes Benz Stadium, but something needs to change. I just hope its sooner, rather than later.
Legion Field has served its purpose, but its time to move on. The future looks bright for the SouthSide Dragons and it would become a whole lot brighter under the lights of a brand new on-campus stadium.