Opinion: A new era for FAMU athletics

FAMU running back Lonnie Lockett is off to the races against Southern last September. Photo courtesy FAMU athletics

Thursday, June 4, was the day that changed everything for FAMU athletics. That was the day the FAMU Board of Trustees voted unanimously to change athletic conferences, moving the program from the MEAC to the SWAC.

This came as a shock to many, including myself. Earlier this year North Carolina A&T announced that it was leaving the MEAC to join the Big South in July 2021. FAMU would have no competition outside of BCU to win the MEAC football title for years to come.

This move will take full effect for FAMU in the 2021-2022 season.

Why move to another conference after we just won the MEAC this past year? Athletic Director Kortne Gosha provided a lot of reasons in his presentation to the trustees, but two of them caught my attention: money and transportation.

Playing teams such as Norfolk State, Howard, Morgan State and Delaware State requires a round trip flight. This is expensive and it can exhaust our student-athletes flying up there and back to Tallahassee.

As opposed to playing Alabama State, Alabama A&M, Alcorn State, Jackson State and Mississippi Valley State requires only a bus ride. This is certainly less expensive and its convenient for our student-athletes.

The SWAC consists of 10 schools: Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Alcorn State, Arkansas-Pine, Grambling State, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley State, Prairie View A&M, Southern and Texas Southern.

Ive heard about Alcorn State and how good their program is.Vanderbiltwide receiver C.J. Bolder recently announced he was transferring to Alcorn. Not to mention they played in the Celebration Bowl last year against NCAT, losing to the Aggies 64-44. Southern is another good team that could pose a challenge to us and they showed that last year.

That was the loudest and fullest Ive seen Bragg Memorial Stadium, with 27,191 fans in attendance. Can you believe that? This shattered FAMUs previous record at 19,028 in 1999 against the Bulldogs. I dont what it is between us and the Bulldogs, but the fan support is tremendous.

It was a back and forth fight that went down to the wire. Rattler quarterback Ryan Stanley led his team down the field and found Xavier Smith for the game winning TD, and 27-21 was the outcome. This game was crazy from start to finish.

I honestly dont care about the other teams in the MEAC besides BCU. The Florida Classic is something we all look forward to, and BCU has beaten us nine years in a row. Last year we were on a roll (9-1) and we came up short.

I dont like the move, but I understand why. The Florida Classic must stay. Forget every other team in the MEAC but we must keep BCU on the schedule. Theres nothing better than a rivalry game.