From the "Reader Opinions" section of The Birmingham News:
Watts isn't a competent leader for School of Medicine
Other people have covered all of the pertinent sports stuff. Let me add some unrelated fuel to the "Fire Watts" flames.
While I have close ties to the UAB athletic program, what I really understand is medicine and particularly cardiology. Dr. Watts, although he is an MD, is not a competent leader for the School of Medicine and has, in fact, almost ruined it. When I was a Research Fellow in Cardiovascular Diseases in the early 1980s UAB was one of the Top Ten Cardiovascular Research Institutes in the world. Now it isn't even the best heart program in Birmingham. Most of this decline has occurred on Mr. Watt's watch.
For example, we do meaningful research in our cardiovascular group, some of which was presented at the American Heart Association meeting two weeks ago. None of our research is in association with UAB. Rather it is in association with Duke University. Our complex arrhythmia work is done in association with Emory University. My work in my personal area of special expertise, cardiac-neural networks and autonomic dysfunction, is in association with Vanderbilt University. The guys at St. Vincent's in Birmingham do our complex cardiac valve work.
Outside our group, Auburn University's new medical school is not part of the UAB network. It is part of the VCOM network headquartered in Blacksburg, Va. UAB needs to dismiss Dr. Watts before he can do any more harm. This episode also underscores the need for UAB to get away from the University of Alabama Board of Trustees and establish its own board.
And another thing: Immediately after reading Dr. Watts email last evening I emailed the UAB athletic department and instructed that my monthly contribution be discontinued. It may not be much in the grand scheme of things, but some of Dr. Watts' mystical mathematics assumes that contributors will continue to send money. If you are a contributor to anything at UAB and you oppose the discontinuation of the football program, vote with your checkbook and tell the university that you are discontinuing your financial support.
I suspect that when money stops flowing in to nonathletic areas, it will get the attention of a number of folks who can make positive things happen.
W. Ross Davis, MDAuburn