Florida A&M University bowlers and officials said since becoming a National Collegiate Athletic Association approved sport five years ago at FAMU, the Lady Rattlers bowling team has felt overlooked when it comes to coverage and support compared to other sports on campus.
“The school needs to become educated on all sports on campus, not just the revenue producing ones because without this sport there would be none,” said Women’s bowling assistant coach Paul Williams.
Williams, who is in his seventh year of coaching, said he feels his bowlers work as hard as any athlete for any other sport. He said the women’s bowling team practice nearly 15 hours per week and work hard to excel. However, support is little to none.
“It’s a shame at the lack of attendance at our events,” Williams said. “I can almost count the number of people on one hand, but on the other hand, the attendance at football games is ridiculous.”
Gina Davis, 18, a freshman-nursing student from Hampton, Va. and first-year member of the Lady Rattlers bowling team, is on a full bowling scholarship. Davis, who has been bowling since she was a 4-year-old, said she looks forward to the upcoming season and is very excited about a brand new team, which consists of eight members: seven freshmen and one sophomore. According to Davis, she and the team are aiming for glory, and stress the need for support.
“I just want people to realize we’re a sport and should be advertised just as much as basketball, football and other sports,” Davis said. “I blame the school’s media first and foremost for not communicating with the students and community to inform them about our events. People can’t come if they don’t know.”
The league was set up after a Title IX request in 1998 to establish another sport for women at the university, according to the seventh year head coach Novella Franklin.
Although the bowling team has yet to win any major titles, the motivation and determination going into this season is extremely high.
“I feel as if these girls could really bring us a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference or NCAA championship this year,” Franklin said.
As far as academics are concerned, Franklin said she is pleased with the academic excellence all of her bowlers have shown.
“All of my bowlers graduate on time and with honors,” Franklin boasts. “I love to coach, and this year’s team has truly been a blessing because these girls really enjoy one another’s company and doing things as a team.”
Marisa Moffett, 18, a freshman business administration student from Detroit, came to FAMU on a partial bowling scholarship because she said she received more money to attend school here and bowl compared to other schools. Moffett, who was bowling about five years prior to coming to FAMU, said she chose bowling to be unique.
“Not too many people bowl, especially African Americans,” Moffett said.
Moffett said she is extremely excited about this season.
“I’m really looking forward to traveling and seeing what other schools’ competition is like and of course winning,” Moffett said. “I just want to have a great year.”
As far as getting more support for the bowling team, Moffett also had a great suggestion.
“We just need more advertisement and most importantly, just word of mouth will get spectators to come out and support us.”