Florida A&M University has had two home games this year and is set to have two more, including its homecoming game. The football season has brought in a large number of students, alumni, faculty and spectators.
The homecoming game is expected to bring even more, which could create problems in terms of parking. General admission for parking around or near Bragg Memorial Stadium is $10 on a first-come, first-serve basis and varies for larger vehicles such as RVs.
In order to avoid paying money for parking during every home game or risking not getting parking at all, many attendees have opted for membership with the FAMU booster club.
Mickey Clayton, director of booster relations, discussed the membership.
“Booster membership cost ranges from $10 for students to $5,000 from various sponsors,” Clayton said. “The membership guarantees you a reserved spot in the stadium for the whole season.”
Funds acquired from game day parking revenue are contributed to the athletic department.
“From March to September and after football season, we are working to increase the number of booster members,” Clayton said. “All the money that we make goes to the athletic department.”
Prior to this year, money contributed by FAMU Boosters has been used for specific needs recognized by the athletic department. “In previous years, (boosters) worked to support areas the athletic department identified, like athletic banquets or various programs. It was all based on requests from the (athletic) department,” said Nelson Townsend, FAMU’s athletic director.This year, money raised by FAMU boosters will be allocated solely for athletic scholarships.
“This will be the first year that money has been exclusively designated for student athletes,” Townsend said. “One hundred percent of the gifts will be dedicated towards scholarships.”
According to Townsend, there are over 200 students on athletic scholarships at one level or another.
Funds donated by the Boosters will go to scholarships for student athletes and team uniforms.
Townsend is hopeful that money raised by the FAMU Boosters will continue to be allotted to student athletes.
“We are planning to not only devote funds for student athletes this year, but for years to come, because it allows us to emphasize the most important part of the budget,” Townsend said.
“Without student athletes, we wouldn’t have a program. So we need support from boosters to make sure our student athletes are provided for.”
The athletic department devises a fiscal year budget before each school year to determine how much is needed for certain areas and how much will be given by contributors like the boosters.
“Their contributions have differed. Some years they have been substantial and some years minor amounts, but this year we are expecting $400,000 for budgeted items from this year’s gifts, fundraisers, membership and all of their other efforts,” said Townsend.
According to Clayton, booster membership brought in roughly $200, 000 last year. This year, they are planning other fundraisers to avoid increasing parking or membership rates.
These fundraisers are expected to help supplement the money made from this year’s membership and meet the athletic department’s anticipated income of $400,000.
“The rates (for parking and membership) have not gone up, but we are trying to secure additional revenue from the recruitment of additional members to the Booster Club and fundraising efforts, like the RITA (Rattlers Investing Ten Annually) group,” Clayton said.
The president of RITA shared more.
“The purpose of RITA is to generate funds for all student athletic teams and stabilize because of (team) cuts. We want to create more athletic scholarships for more students,” said Krystal Wilson, a second-year business administration student from Monticello.
More information on game day parking or booster membership can be obtained by contacting the Rattler Boosters Office at (850) 224-6093 or visiting their Web site at www.therattlerboosters.com.