Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne spoke to the media Wednesday at the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Florida.
Among his most notable comments was his reaffirming of a long-standing University of Alabama policy in which the Crimson Tide won’t schedule in-state schools for non-conference games.
The state of Alabama is loaded with multiple teams who could bring thousands of fans to Bryant-Denny Stadium without the burden of taking out a small loan to get to Tuscaloosa. Among them, Sun Belt Conference programs such as South Alabama and Troy routinely play SEC schools; neither have ever played against Alabama. Nor has UAB out of Conference USA, a member of the University of Alabama system, with a campus under an hour away from Tuscaloosa.
In fact, Alabama hasn’t played a team from the state of Alabama, outside of Auburn, since 1944 when it played Samford.
I am puzzled by that.
Auburn has played Jacksonville State in the recent past and has future meetings with Alabama State, Alabama A&M and Samford in coming years.
If matchups against Western Kentucky, Mercer and Chattanooga are suitable for the Tide, why aren’t Samford and UAB who are located less than an hour away? Whether Alabama is looking for FBS or FCS opponents, its own state can provide plenty of either.
These in-state meetings would not only help the Tide’s opponents financially, but also aide their recruiting. The in-state games could also help fill stadiums with fans who are more inclined to make the short drive to Tuscaloosa.
(You can follow Justin Nails on Twitter @JustinNails)
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