UAB athletic director Mark Ingram used to work at Temple where they brought a live owl to games. He wanted to do something similar at UAB.

By Khadrice Rollins
September 16, 2019

UAB athletic director Mark Ingram had a really good idea.

And by good, I mean completely absurd and could never actually be executed in real life, but if it could it would be the greatest thing ever.

The Blazers are building a new football stadium they expect to open in 2021. Their mascot is a dragon.

Naturally, fans wanted to know if they could possibly get some sort of dragon in the stadium. Not one that breathes fire, but a Komodo dragon that fans could hype up and maybe even take pictures with.

Ingram heard them and was ready to make that a reality. Then he talked with the people at the Birmingham Zoo.

As detailed in this excerpt from a Q&A between Ingram and Evan Dudley of AL.com, even a Komodo dragon is probably too dangerous to have at a football game.

AL.com: Fans are really excited about it. Some on Twitter have even suggested a live Komodo dragon exhibit? What are your feelings on that and is it within your power to make it happen?

Ingram: "Funny story. I came here from Temple University and they are the Owls. And we partnered with a zoo in Philadelphia to get a live owl at our games. The owl's name was Stella, and she was really stout and a beautiful animal, and fortunately well-trained. You could take your picture next to Stella, fans loved it, and we brought her to football and basketball games and she just sat on a perch with her handler. It was really a neat deal.

"So, I thought the same thing coming here. How cool would it be to get a Komodo dragon? As luck would have it, within my first couple of weeks, someone from the Birmingham Zoo was here for a meeting. Introduced, and I said, 'Oh my gosh, I can't believe you’re here. I've got this idea I want to share with you. What do you think having a Komodo dragon?'

"And they looked at me like I was crazy.

"They said, 'You understand this is basically like an alligator?' I said, 'No, I didn't. I thought it was more like a large iguana.' They said, 'No, it's a meat-eating carnivore and it'd be like having an alligator here.'

"I said, 'Oh, OK, well maybe you could bring it, it could be in a cage? Because LSU and Memphis, there's a lot of people who have tigers like that.'

"They said, 'Well, what about the spit?'

"I said, 'I don't understand.'

"They said, 'They spit at their prey and the spit causes paralyses. So, you know, they can go and eat it.' I said, 'So this is a bad idea is what you’re saying?'

"Children getting spit on and paralyzed, and eaten, potentially, by the Komodo dragon. I thought it seemed like a great idea, but apparently it's not as good of an idea as I once thought."

Why couldn't Ingram completely disregard the safety and well-being of children so there could be a live Komodo dragon on the field?

Imagine how amazing College GameDay would be with Lee Corso walking around with an entire Komodo dragon after picking UAB to get an upset win.

Sure, you don't want to see anyone get paralyzed at a football game, but, a Komodo dragon.

Sometimes you got to take a risk and ask for forgiveness instead of permission. This would have been one of those times.

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