Florida State University rescheduled its 2003 Parents’ Weekend after discovering that FAMU had already made arrangements to hold its Homecoming on the same weekend.
FSU officials originally planned to hold the annual event the weekend of Oct. 25 and 26. But FAMU is scheduled to host Norfolk State University for its homecoming game during the same weekend. And because FAMU scheduled its weekend first, FSU changed its event to the weekend of Sept. 5-6.
Carolyn Collins, president of the FAMU National Alumni Association, believes President Fred Gainous probably met with FSU administration to iron out the scheduling dilemma.
“Usually, when there is a problem of this magnitude, the figureheads of the two universities come together and make the proper arrangements,” Collins said. “We are elated that the changes have been made.”
Collins admits that there was frustration from FAMU alumni before the changes were made.
“Originally, we were very upset because homecoming is the one time of year where FAMU alumni can see one another,” said Collins. “However, President Fred Gainous intervened and solved the problem.”
J.R.E. Lee, athletic director said FSU may have been taken aback with FAMU’s expedient scheduling.
“Never in the history of the two universities has FAMU put out their schedule of events before FSU,” he said. “I’m sure we probably surprised them because they’re used to putting out their schedule before us.”
FAMU released its schedule of events to the media on July 1, 2002, almost an entire month before FSU, Lee said. Traditionally, the school that releases its schedule first takes precedence over the other university’s events.
“We released the schedule early to make sure that parents and alumni had plenty of time to make travel and hotel arrangements,” Lee said.
Mark Striffler, associate director of student unions at FSU, said the new schedule will work out fine.
“The rescheduling should make it easier for visitors to move through traffic and get a hotel,” Striffler said. “The new date should be easier for law enforcement to control and prevent congestion in the city.”
Law enforcement officials said it would be difficult to ensure safety with the two universities holding major events at the same time. The Tallahassee Police Department and Leon County Sheriff’s Office expected considerable traffic problems and congestion throughout the city.
“It’s much more of a burden having two huge events in one small city,” said Lt. Mitch Miller, associate division commander of special operations. “People come for the game and for other events so it’s a good thing the date was changed.”
The FAMU Homecoming brings about 70,000 extra people into Tallahassee.
Miller said FSU’s Parents’ Weekend brings in about the same number.
Even so, September 5-6 will still be a busy weekend for TPD. FAMU host Morgan State and Parents’ Weekend will be taking place as FSU plays Maryland.
“The two events would have brought in 140,000 people together, so now all we have to control is 70,000,” Miller said jokingly.
Antione Davis can be reached at Aldavis03@hotmail.com.