- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - An Alabama lawmaker is looking to bring football back to UAB.

Rep. Jack Williams, R-Vestavia Hills, filed a bill late last week to restore the University of Alabama at Birmingham football program that was shuttered by university officials in December. The legislation would require the University of Alabama System to have a football program at UAB as long as it has a football team at its main Tuscaloosa campus.

However, Williams said the issue is larger than football. He said the University of Alabama Board of Trustees focus attention on the Tuscaloosa campus while the Huntsville and Birmingham campuses get the “leftovers.”

“This is about communicating to the board that there are three universities in that system,” Williams said. “This is about creating opportunities for all three campuses to thrive and grow.”

UAB President Ray Watts in December announced that the school was shuttering its football, rifle and bowling programs because of costs. The decision drew substantial backlash, and Williams said the decision was made in secret and with deception.

Williams has also filed legislation seeking to revamp the board of trustees and increase representation from the communities where the three campuses are located. A third bill would require trustees to undergo training and to disclose business relationships with other board members.

Dozens of House members have signed on as co-sponsors of each bill.

Kellee Reinhart, spokeswoman for the University of Alabama System, says the system is reviewing the legislation.

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