After seven months of keeping alumni, boosters, students, faculty, staff and Rattler fans in limbo, FAMU administration has finally decided to address the proposed move to Division I-A – in the Tallahassee Democrat.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, President Fred Gainous sent an e-mail to trustees Thursday asking them to reconsider its action of reclassifying the University’s football program to I-A. Why is it that the administration suddenly realizes that more time is needed to make such a drastic change? And why are the constituents of the University always the last to know?
At a scheduled town hall meeting last Tuesday in the senate chamber, eager Rattlers anticipated answers to their unanswered questions about the move and the 2004 football schedule. Unfortunately, Rattlers left the meeting with more questions than before.
Interim athletic director J.R.E. Lee had the audacity to not show up. Gainous said, “In a meeting that I had with John Lee earlier today, he asked me if I would attend this meeting tonight so that he could take care of another matter.”
What was so important to merit further bad publicity?
Why would the board of trustees invest faith in a decision of this magnitude by an interim director who has not completed his first year in the post? Or an interim director who replies, “I don’t know anything about that,” when asked a question about programs in his department.
Even FAMU trustee and student body president, Larry O. Rivers was quoted as saying he wants to renege on his vote to move to I-A. But at the meeting, neither Gainous nor Rivers provided answers about the move. Gainous should have at least let it be known that he wanted the board of trustees to reconsider the I-A move.
However, the reality is that it is not the trustees who are reconsidering, it is Gainous. It’s about time that he step up.
Board Chairman James Corbin said any ultimate decision of reconsidering the move rests with the trustees.
However, Lee and the trustees who backed his decision to make the move have ulterior motives. Because there is no way they could have been thinking about the future of the University.
They certainly did not think about the University when they decided to secretly endorse their self-gratification plan by approving the move.
Most Rattlers already recognized that the University was not prepared to take the financial hit of a move to I-A. FAMU cannot even afford to keep the lights on in Tucker Hall.
The next board of trustees meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 10.
Hopefully the trustees who are mandated to make sound and proper decisions for the University will come to a wise decision – remain in the MEAC.
Even if they do not inform the University’s public they should at least let the NCAA know before the March 15 deadline.
Come on people. Get it together and actually create “One FAMU.”
Kaye Dallas for the Editorial board.