For the Rattlers, losing is winning

If you logged on to Monday night (if you’re a real sports head) or unfolded The Famuan this morning (cause we know you’re reading) to see how the Rattlers fared in Columbus in Monday’s game versus the Ohio State University Buckeyes, don’t be ashamed at the score.

Yeah, we lost by more than a dub. But don’t trip. Cause the team sure isn’t. As well they shouldn’t. Whenever, Florida A&M University sticks its neck in the athletic guillotine to get beheaded by schools like Ohio State, Indiana and Georgia, they are taking an ‘L’ for the greater good of the University’s athletic program.

It’s simple supply and demand. Big time division 1-A basketball programs hire lesser opponents like FAMU to play against an opponent other than themselves before they venture out to tackle conference competition. They pay us. We play them.

“These are called guarantee games for a reason,” said FAMU head coach Mike Gillespie in an interview prior the to Rattler’s being waxed by the University of Florida Gators in 2004. “You’re guaranteed to get beat, but I get a nice paycheck.”

The lopsided score that scrolled across ESPN’s bottom line last night, put a nice-sized wad in the athletic department’s often-thinning bottom line.

It’s like a tune-up fight. When Mike Tyson TKO’d Peter McNeely in 1995 on his fresh-out-of-jail tour, McNeely got broke off lovely.

Coach G is required by the University to raise some $200,000 for the athletic department through these guarantee games this year, according to a story that ran in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Dec. 7. That was before the Rattlers dropped another game and copped another check before losing by 28 to Xavier University, a school that reportedly will pay out $290,000 out to the less fortunate to ensure their Musketeers go into their Atlantic-10 conference schedule.

For these athletic programs, it’s an even business exchange.

For the players, I would presume it’s an opportunity to prove themselves against the top talent in the country.

That’s no reason to feel bad at all. If you get blown out of the gym, everyone expected you to. If you have a standout game like former Rattler sharpshooter Terrence Woods did when he put 24 on Kentucky in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament, you might get a tryout with an NBA team.

Real talk, all’s fair in love, war and sports. Like Chris Rock said, “I’ve seen a penguin ride a tricycle in my lifetime.”

So, anything can happen. Upsets happen all the time. Just ask Goliath.

Either way, ain’t no shame in getting paid.

Nick Birdsong is a senior newspaper journalism student from Tampa. He can be contacted at