Just the other day I was walking through Walgreens and overheard a conversation between two employees.
The male employee asked, “Are you all still under suspension?”
It hurts to know that as of right now, that’s all people can think about. All of the good things on our campus are being overshadowed by Florida A&M University’s Athletic Department’s inability to keep things in order.
The Associated Press has essentially called our school “stupid.” It was then said that some key personnel lacked expertise and knowledge of NCAA regulations.
When speaking with my fellow HBCUans across the country I do not like to bring up the subject of sports. It is quite embarrassing to tell them about how we are rapidly losing scholarships and championships that I thought we might have had a chance to win, or maybe that at one time we were in the Middle Eastern Atlantic Conference, better known as the MEAC, and the next year we weren’t.
We were continually begging to be back in the MEAC but now I can say that I am proud to see that we have moved in the right direction by hiring some star power like our head football coach. All I can hope is that we don’t mess this one up.
Our Athletic Department has been hit with 184 NCAA violations from 1998 to 2004. We have been forced to cut out sports because we are unable to fund them. I have friends that played on sports teams that have now been terminated.
I figure the good athletes will leave because they will have the opportunity to compete at another school. Florida A&M University has produced numerous top tier athletes. I know that it is harder for smaller schools to compete against larger well-funded institutions but what would have happened if all of a sudden FAMU had cut its women’s tennis program while Althea Gibson was here? How can we call ourselves a premier HBCU?
Andrew Ward is a third year business administration student from Milwaukee, Wis. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.