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In this morning's WALL STREET JOURNAL, Brett Pulley examines the battle between residents and the city over helping the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) establish its Division I-A college football program. Specifically, the Birmingham City Council voted to give UAB $2.2M to upgrade its football program I by 1996. "To some people in the loose coalition opposing" the city giving money to UAB to start football, "the controversy boils down to a frustration with the dominance of the university locally and the dominance of football here and throughout the state." In the mid-'80s the city gave $1M to the USFL's Birmingham Stallions to start their franchise. The city received "some used uniforms and equipment in return for its investment." In '91, the city decided to give the World League's Birmingham Fire stadium concession funds. Opponents of public funding to UAB for football say the money would be better spent on education and economic revitalization of the city (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/23).
St. Petersburg has been notified by the NCAA it is one of five finalists for the Southeast regional Sweet 16 tournament in '98. The 1999 Final Four already has been awarded to St. Pete. Sites are expected to be chosen as soon as next week after the Division I men's basketball committee meets and makes its recommendations to the NCAA executive committee. Also making the cut: Atlanta, Knoxville and Lexington. Atlanta submitted two bids, one for the Omni and one for the GA Dome. If St. Pete does not get the Sweet 16 regional spot, the city and ThunderDome will be "all but a lock" for first- and second-round games in '98. The NCAA generally awards either of the two tournaments to a Final Four site the year before those games as a dress rehearsal (Bob Chick, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/23).