HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The University of Alabama in Birmingham will bring football back among its roster of athletics - and an alumnus we spoke with couldn't be happier with the news.
UAB president Dr. Ray Watts announced Monday the reversal of an earlier decision to cut football, rifle and bowling from the program, after meetings with UAB supporters continued through the weekend.
He says donors have pledged to make up the estimated $17.2 million deficit over the next five years if football is restored - but ultimately there is more work to be done to ensure the sports come back into play.
For former UAB Blazers quarterback David Isabelle, the news was a relief.
"They fought so hard for it," said Isabelle. "And for the program to come back to Birmingham is definitely a celebration."
Isabelle said it's not just about pigskin and jerseys. The football program at UAB inspires school spirit and attracts new students. Not to mention, he added, the football program provides more opportunities for North Alabama high school seniors.
"It is definitely an attraction to the university, to the city of Birmingham," said Isabelle. "It is something that kind of kicks the year off."
Watts said for the football program to be reinstated and prosper for years to come, pledges must be met in a reasonable timeframe. Plus, the University has to maintain its financial support.
If the cheers from crowds listening to Monday's announcement are any indication of support, Isabelle believes they shouldn't have a problem.
"I think the students are more invested now than ever in supporting the team and knowing how much it means," said Isabelle. "And I think that is going to help drive the team."
Back in 2011, UAH dealt with a very similar situation in regards to their hockey team. The program was slated to be cut, however donors stepped up and helped keep the program alive.
Copyright 2015 WAFF. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.