Heated meeting as University of Alabama-Birmingham scuttles football program

Students gathered to protest university president Ray Watts after he announced the end of the football program
Students gathered to protest university presi... 02:23

When you mention college football, millions think, "Alabama." The top-ranked Crimson Tide are going after another national title. But now, a school that plays in Alabama's shadow is going the other way, reports CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano.

Despite finishing with a .500 record this season, University of Alabama-Birmingham officials announced the school is terminating its football program, citing "a lack of financial support." The president of the university spoke with coaches and players on Tuesday in a heated meeting that was all caught on camera.

"There's 18-year-olds in here, 17-year-olds, what are they supposed to do?" tight end Tristan Henderson said.

The 26-year-old Henderson is an Iraq war veteran and spoke passionately during the meeting.

"Some of these guys came from 3,000 miles to play here, to be a part of this," Henderson said.

While UAB's players took out their frustration on university president Ray Watts as he announced the decision to end the football program, protesters took to the campus.

"The fight doesn't end today, it starts today," one protester said.

The anger and frustration was felt everywhere at the school as students booed Watts leaving team meeting. In a statement, he called the sport unsustainable.

"We've given Coach Clark the best chance we could and if the financial realities of the situation were different, we would be moving forward," Watts said.

Outside the meeting angry protests turned to cheers, as fans applauded coaching staff including first year head coach Bill Clark.

"It was tough, it was emotional and I think our message to everybody is how we played and how our guys act," Clark said. "This is the passion we were looking for. This is a great city, great school, and I am just happy to be a part of it."

The team finished this year's season with a 6-6 record and is eligible to play in a bowl game for the first time in more than a decade. Despite shutting down the program, the university said scholarships and contracts of players and coaches will still be honored.