There’s a digital clock on the wall on the left going down the steps into the UAB football offices, done up like a miniature scoreboard, green and white with the team’s dragon-head insignia. It reads BLAZER FOOTBALL COUNTDOWN and has spaces for ticking off the remaining days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the next University of Alabama at Birmingham football game, and right now, it’s dark.
The Blazers don’t live here, not the way they once did. Not since December, when the university clumsily disbanded the team. UAB reinstated football in the summer, after most of the athletes and all but a few of the staff had situated themselves in new schools, and while the program shudders back to life, the hallways remain mostly empty. Administrative assistant and team den mother Shannon Ritch says she still isn’t used to the absence of sound that follows a slamming door in the building. Each bang used to herald a parade of players, hooting and hollering and tumbling all over one another like packs of puppies walking upright. Now, the absence is palpable.
(Read the rest at Grantland.)