Students voice disappointment following cancellation of football

Sophomore Iman Baker is eager to cheer again. Photo courtesy Iman Baker

Florida A&M University’s athletic department earlier this month announced that there will be no football season along with volleyball and women’s cross country.

Football season is normally a fall sport, but due to COVID-19 the season was delayed by the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and rescheduled for the spring semester. FAMU had previously announced a 6-game spring season.

Athletic Director Kortne Gosha said FAMU canceled the football season with the safety of the student-athletes in mind. Also, arch-rival Bethune-Cookman University, which FAMU was scheduled to play two times, previously decided to cancel all sports for the 2020-2021 academic year.

FAMU students took to social media following the announcement that the football season was canceled for the entire academic year. Many Rattlers voiced dismay and regret.

“I was very excited for the upcoming season,” Chris Williams said. “It was truly saddening to hear that the season was canceled because the pandemic has already taken away a lot. I was really looking forward to attending games.”

COVID-19 has put a lot of fun activities on pause, but FAMU students didn’t see a canceled football season coming.

Sophomore Iman Baker was excited for the football season. This is her second year as a FAMU cheerleader.

“Football season is my favorite time of year,” Baker said. “My favorite part about football season is cheering alongside the sideline in hope of getting the student section pumped. Also, I enjoy hearing the 100 play during the game and at halftime.”

Baker was born and raised in Tallahassee, so being a Rattler was inevitable. She said she  has been to more than 75 FAMU football games. She likes to think of herself as a big football fan.

“I’m really bummed about not having a football season this year. Football season is something I look forward to every year,” Baker said. “I feel like I’m missing out on my college experience by having the season canceled.”

Sophomore Zaria Hunter showing off her dance skills at a football game last year. Photo courtesy Zaria Hunter

School spirit teams like the cheerleaders, Venom dancers, Diamond dancers and A&M flags are usually the crowd pleasers and keep the fans engaged during slower parts of the game.

“I was very excited for the football season because I could start back dancing again and it feels like a big family reunion during football games,” Zaria Hunter, a sophomore, said. “My favorite part of football season is being able to dance to the sound of the Marching 100.”

Hunter would have been dancing her second football season as a member of the Venom troupe.

One of the most anticipated moments during a football game is the halftime show with the Incomparable Marching 100. The band members also have been rehearsing with the thought they would be able to march in the stadium.

“The fans, football and school spirit are like no other. This year doing band performances without the students and fans made me really appreciate those times I had in person even more,” Chad Gordon, one of the drum majors, said. “As one of the drum majors for the Marching 100, it makes me feel disappointed that I could not perform for my family, friends and fans of the 100. Nonetheless, it is an extreme honor to serve in my capacity.”

Home football games brought alumni and vendors to FAMU’s campus.

“I love home games because we get to connect with alumni and the supportive atmosphere at the home games,” Jasmine Richardson said.  “I’m very disappointed about not having a season this year because it’s a tradition. I feel as if it has been broken. I always anticipate going to at least three games a season, and the fact that I can’t go to any makes me sad. Regardless if we win or lose, I always enjoy being in the atmosphere of the band, love from alumni, and the delicious vendors.”