In the New American Roget’s College Dictionary, a rival is defined as a competitor, contender or opponent.
What is it called when a school plays the women’s basketball team, in a game some consider one the best ever played at a particular school’s home gym, and beats them in an 80-78 double overtime thriller?
What about when that same school’s football team recorded consecutive upsets; one of which was on a last-second field goal that looked to be good by many, but was called bad nonetheless.
Schools whose bands are suddenly in contention of one another after not ever being mentioned in the same breath until recently?
That school is called a rival, and only one school fits that description for FAMU: Howard University.
Over the past few years, Howard and FAMU have been competitive in several categories on and off the playing field. Students at FAMU and Howard say the two schools were in at least their top 10 choices among schools to attend and top five among HBCUs.
“A lot of people from D.C. (area) go here, the DC Metro Club is big here and we even have an Alumni Association back home that is very involved,” said Adar Howard, a fourth-year architecture student from Washington D.C.
A few think the rivalry had nothing to do with athletics originally.
“Both schools have such prestige that it escalates into a sports rivalry,” said Justin McLeod, a second year business administration student from Washington D.C.
McLeod, as well as many other D.C., area natives say the game is about bragging rights because they know people that go to Howard and they call one another to boast after a victory.
Some people from the Washington, D.C. area say that Howard is the best game on FAMU’s schedule and they come out to support both teams no matter what.
“It’s the only game I come to,” said Alycia Alfred, a third year criminal justice student from Washington, D.C.
However, for those other thousands of students who are not from the D.C. area and a couple who are tend to disagree.
“I’m not from Florida or D.C. so I don’t really get caught up in the rivalry if there is one,” said Omari Murphy, a third year business administration student from New Orleans.
Marques Bivins, a third year business management student from Temple Hills, Md., feels that despite all the competitive games between the two, Howard is not in close enough proximity to be considered a rival school.
Many of FAMU related media and older Rattler fans say that when a rival of FAMU comes to mind, they don’t even think of Howard.
Preston Scott, a sports director for the ABC affiliate in Tallahassee has his own opinion on who FAMU’s rival schools is.
“Bethune (Cookman College) is more of a rival school that Howard. A lot of people come out to the Howard games, but the BCC games are packed.”
Nevertheless, despite the ineffectiveness to get a victory in football, the basketball teams have had the upper hand the past two years. The women’s team eliminated Howard in the quarterfinals of last season’s MEAC tournament and the men’s team has defeated the Bison three straight times including a 77-74 win Monday night.
Whenever FAMU and Howard, play records are thrown out the window. Fans come out to support and both teams play hard whether it’s the MEAC title or bragging rights on the line.
Arize Ifejika is a junior magazine production student from Silver Spring, Md. He is the also the assistant sports editor. Contact him firstname.lastname@example.org.