I-A decision disappoints

The uproar has quieted and the dust has settled following Tuesday’s decision by the University’s Board of Trustees to delay the move to Division I-A. Now students and administrators are left with questions and disappointment.

“This decision is a big letdown …,” said Rashaund King, a history education student from Miami. King, 18, said that in speaking to many of his friends, a great deal of anticipation for the move had grown within the student body.

“We would’ve loved to go to next year’s big games,” King said.

According to trustees at Tuesday’s meeting, the primary reason for the move back was a lack of funds. Without firm contracts for stadium expansion and completed 2004-2005 schedules, the board voted to delay the move and to revisit the issue when the University becomes better prepared.

“We should take more time to meet the needs of the core mission of our institution first, which is academics,” President Fred Gainous said at the meeting.

During the meeting, a number of trustees also discussed the possible legal issues that may face the University as a result of the decision. According to board Chairman James Corbin, the University of Illinois, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma and Toledo Universities could bring suits against FAMU for breaching its contractual obligation to play the schools in 2004. The potential legal action has made some students question the administration’s direction.

“This kind of thing doesn’t happen at FSU, they get what they want and we get the leftovers,” said Charlene German, an English education student from Atlanta. For German and other students, the decision is just another example of a recent history of students being let down by the administration.

“I am concerned about the University’s inability to handle its money,” she said.

During Tuesday’s meeting, several trustees said their main goal was to maintain the school’s academic credibility while moving forward with athletic advancements.

“This is a good reflection on the University because it points to the heart of our mission, to educate,” said Love Collins, vice president of development.

The administration now plans to further equip the University for a later move to Division I-A. According to Collins, FAMU will work diligently to address issues with technology, contracts and facilities so that the University can transition to Division I-A in a “first class way.”

“The delay allows [the University] to make sure all the things we need to be strong in the move are covered”, he said.

“The University wants to ensure that when we come out of the huddle, we do it with the same level of excellence as our academics.”

Contact Steven Jumper at jumpersoulrb@aol.com