Florida A&M University is leading the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in attendance with an average of 25,679 fans per home game, and finding a parking spot at Bragg Memorial Stadium on game days can be a challenge.
FAMU’s “Investing in Champions” program reserves a majority of the parking spots close to the stadium, and that seems to leave a limited amount of parking spots for everyone else — including the students.
Since most of the spaces are taken up by fans and boosters, students are forced to search for a place to park to attend games. Kelsey Jones a senior health and leisure fitness major from Apalachicola, described some of the issues he has with parking on game days and why he has a problem with it.
“It’s very difficult to find parking. There is a lot of construction going on around and we can’t find anywhere to park,” Jones said.
Another issue that many students have vented about on so
cial media is the cost for parking at games. The price for regular patrons looking for a parking spot is $20 at the gravel parking lot near the Lawson Center and the newly built parking lot on Osceola Street.
Students are asking why they are forced to pay for limited parking spaces when the whole premise is for students to attend games (for free) to help represent the university.
However, paying for parking actually helps solve a financial problem in athletics, which currently has a deficit of more than $8 million. The revenue from parking can help reduce the deficit and help athletics as a whole.
Kelvin Rozier, the associate director of athletics, said paying for parking can help in the long run.
“It’s a standard practice within the industry. Colleges place premium spots near the stadium for the patrons to have access to the game as well as to generate revenue for the department.”
Even though some students are aware of how paying for parking can help in the long run, that does not mean they like it. Jada Gadson, a senior at FAMU, explained why she feels that students should not have to pay for parking.
“I honestly feel like currently enrolled FAMU students shouldn’t have to pay for game day parking due to the amount of fees we already provide the university in our tuition. I understand that the athletic department uses parking fees to generate revenue. However, I think that students shouldn’t have to bite the bullet of this cost,” Gadson said.
Gadson said there are some options FAMU can take so students don’t have to pay for parking every time.
“Perhaps this cost should be added into the fees for non-student tickets and parking,” Gadson said. “There should be a designated parking lot only for students and in order to gain access, you would have already had to pre-register your vehicle prior to the game day, as well as providing your student ID.”
If students want to park for free during game days they can either go to the parking lot by the new pharmacy building or at the old FAMU DRS building.