Fresh off its most successful season since 2010, the Florida A&M football team has an exciting offseason to build on. Unfortunately for Rattler fans, they won’t have many chances to cheer for their team at Bragg Memorial Stadium in 2020.
After having six home games during the 2018 and 2019 seasons FAMU will have only three home games in 2020.
One of the reasons for fewer home games is the resumption of the Orange Blossom Classic, to be held in Miami Gardens vs. Albany State on Sept. 6. It is taking a spot as one of the home games for next season, according to FAMU athletic department officials.
“We will have only three home games next season as the schedule dictated that after having six home games last season,” FAMU Sports Information Director Brian Howard said. “We will also play in the Orange Blossom Classic in Miami.”
Athletic Director Kortne Gosha, who has been on the job for almost two months, said that the current administration was not involved with making the 2020 football schedule.
“When I came on board, December 3 was my first day. There were some contracts that were already executed,” Gosha said. “And so the reality in that is legally we’re obligated to participate as the contracts say.”
FAMU’s athletics department has been mired in debt for more than a decade. President Larry Robinson announced a hiring freeze in athletics last August, and since the university has said that two men’s programs – cross country and tennis – will be eliminated after the current fiscal year.
Home football games are a major source of revenue for athletics, but it is complicated, according to Gosha.
“It’s kind of a double-edged sword, so one of the things if you think about it, for every home game there’s revenue that’s created,” Gosha said. “‘Cause you’re selling tickets, you’re selling parking all of those things and so there is an effect because you’re not bringing in revenue. However, the benefit in that is that you’re not spending money as well. Because you’re not having to pay for people to operate and manage those type of things.”
As far as the schedule goes, Gosha said his administration had nothing to do with next season’s schedule. But he said he has been working diligently across the country trying to find ways to assist with the deficit through fundraising.
“If you haven’t noticed I’ve been all over the country the past 45 days,” Gosha said. “We’ve been to LA, New York, Atlanta several times. We’re going to Dallas next week, (Washington) D.C., we’re all over the place. The reason behind that is we’re going out and meeting with Rattlers all over across the country. Former alumni people that we do business with and looking for corporate partners as well to come in here and really support us in a way that they haven’t before.”
Gosha added that this is the last time FAMU will have only three home games in a season.
“I can say that we’ll never have three home games again. We’ll definitely have more than that. It will be an ebb and flow whether that number is four or six,” he said. “If you notice the past two years we’ve had six home games. That’s a lot. So we’ll have to find the balance in that there’s something we’re trying to do to be creative about football scheduling in particular. Moving forward we’ll never be in this situation again.”
The official schedule will be released Friday.
FAMU football coach Willie Simmons could not be reached for comment.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Thursday, Jan.30, to fix grammatical errors.