Rep. Jack Williams more optimistic about future of UAB football - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Rep. Jack Williams more optimistic about future of UAB football

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

State Representative Jack Williams is more optimistic about the future of UAB's football, rifle and bowling programs.

On Thursday, he reported three sources told him university president Dr. Ray Watts would release an e-mail at 7 p.m. on Friday saying the football, rifle and bowling programs would not be restored.

President Watts issued a statement denying the truthfulness to Williams' report. But Williams said the community rallied once again after his report went public and now Watts is facing pressure from prominent business leaders to reinstate the programs.

“Corporate leaders got on the phone, started making phone calls. I think folks in the administration who are supportive of UAB said, ‘You can't do this. And If you're going to do it, you sure can't do it on a Friday night and then duck off to the beach.'” Williams said on in a live interview on Good Day Alabama Friday morning.

Despite denial from UAB, Williams remains confident that his sources were telling the truth.

“My understanding is that he is on an island within the administration and that every vice president has said to him, ‘You cannot do this. You're destroying this university,'” Williams explained.

Williams says Watts met with Jimmy Filler, a prominent business man and avid UAB supporter and financial backer, on Thursday.

Filler led the effort to build an on campus stadium for the Blazers in 2011 that was denied and has made strong commitments to UAB if the football program is restored.

“I don't know definitively what went on or what Jimmy committed in that meeting yesterday. But I think it was enough to give Dr. Watts pause.”

Williams expects Justin Craft, of the UAB Football Foundation, to make an announcement on Friday regarding where supporters of the football, rifle and bowling programs stand financially.

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