As a Graduate Senator in the 41st Student Senate, I felt a responsibility and duty to be a steward for not just graduate students but the entire student body at Florida A&M University. Feb. 27, Senate meeting, the 41st Student Senate unwisely appropriated $29,360 to the Florida A&M football team for a set of black and white uniforms.
Not being able to debate the merit of this legislation on the Senate floor is one of the biggest flaws we have within the association. If legislation cannot be debated, it can easily be run through.As a student, I have a fundamental problem with using A&S money to do the job of the Athletics department and or Rattler Boosters Inc. There should always be a plan when it comes to replacing uniforms and I feel that neither did their due diligence in this matter.The argument that this appropriation will bring about better morale or school spirit has numerous flaws.Within the legislation it says that the uniforms will appeal to the crowd, boost the morale and performance of the team, especially with potentially not having the Marching “100” in attendance, and serve as a form of recruitment for future athletic Rattlers who pay attention to these attributes when choosing a university and increase participation from the studentbody, according to Senate Appropriation Bill SAB12SP-013.There is serious doubt that anyone could state that football uniforms could enhance school spirit among students or alumni.If this appropriation came up in a referendum before the student body would it even pass? Conventional wisdom would say no. Other senators, such as Bernard Jackson, honestly believe that this legislation was a good one. The respect I have for him is truly genuine, but I would have to disagree with my colleague on this matter.Blame can be shared by many people involved with this appropriation bill including the football team and Rattler Boosters Inc. The bill states that the team has gone without new white uniforms for several years. It is odd that no one within the Athletics Department or Rattler Boosters Inc. devised a plan to replace them in a timely manner.In 2004, as part of the agreement with the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), Russell a uniform agreed to provide the conferences with royalties on the sales of apparel licensed through the institutions. Russell also agreed to supply the schools with uniforms, performance and casual apparel, and athletic equipment at no cost, whereas in the past the HBCU schools purchased all of their own products.What happened between then and now when the contract was renewed in 2010?I know that this may affect any legislation coming from me, but I felt it was the right thing to do.There is the capacity for great leadership within our Student Government Association, but I feel that all we are churning out are good managers.
Cost of white and black uniformsItem Quantity Unit Cost Total Item CostRussell White Jersey 96 $80 $7,680Russell White Pants 100 $70 $7,000Russell Black Jersey 96 $80 $7,680Russell Black Pants 100 $70 $7,000Total $29,360