College Football News April 24: UAB Football Economics

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It’s becoming increasingly clear with each new revelation that those in power who forced the closure of UAB football had not interest in saving UAB football; facts be damned.

The latest refuting university president Ray Watts and company is the release of a booster study Thursday that finds UAB football is actually profitable. Kevin Scarbinsky of AL.com writes that the Blazer football program turned over a profit in the 2013-’14 academic year, and that in conjunction with bowling and rifle, would result in a $500,000 surplus for the university athletic program.

Scarbinsky’s report goes further in depth, and is very even-handed. The boosters responsible for the report told him they were not privy to all of the university’s athletic financials, which certainly has an impact.

Nevertheless, the handling of UAB football’s closure by Watts and the Alabama Board of Trustees has been nothing short of embarrassing. The Blazers won’t play in 2015, but I for one hope there’s a shake-up in the UAB power structure that helps the program come back by 2016.

Patrick Mertens’ NFL Trip Was A Long, Tough Road

Arnie Stapleton, Associated Press

Wyoming Cowboys defensive tackle Patrick Mertens’ journey to the NFL draft is nearing completion, but was almost derailed by a tiny perpetrator that had huge impact on his life.

Mertens overcame partial paralysis and other serious ailments in 2011 to return to the field. His is one of the more remarkable stories of this upcoming NFL draft.

Josh Harris Trying to Defy Odds at Arkansas

Otis Kirk, Hawgs 247

Walk-on linebacker Josh Harris was a star on the Arkansas Razorbacks scout team last season, and he’s using this spring to try to break into the lineup.

Harris is just 5-foot-10, but he told 247Sports.com’s Otis Kirk that his size isn’t much of a limitation:

“Some of the best linebackers I have ever been around have been vertically challenged, but they could play the game. That doesn’t concern me. I just want him to be able to handle himself out there and hold his own against the people we’re going to play against.”

Washington Huskies Defense Has Big Shoes to Fill

Bill Swartz, CBS Seattle

The questions CBS Seattle’s Bill Swartz poses: “How do you replace three All-Americans and six of your starting front seven defensive players?”

That’s the challenge Washington Huskies head coach Chris Petersen faces in his second year on the job. Petersen inherited a talented defense in 2014 from former Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, but the Huskies lost their best defensive back, Marcus Peters, to disciplinary issues midway through the year.

Despite Danny Shelton’s monster season up front, hybrid linebacker/end Hau’oli Kikaha leading the nation in sacks and Shaq Thompson being…well, Shaq Thompson, Washington went just 8-6.

The Washington defense wasn’t necessarily to blame for the sub-par record; the Huskies ranked No. 40 nationally in points allowed per game. But with the offensive woes that hamstrung Washington a season ago still unclear, and the defense now rebuilding, the 2015 campaign is shrouded in uncertainty.