FAMU athletics lacks support

The screaming Rattler fans in the stands, chanting the cry for victory has tremendous impact on any sports event.

The fans have the power of getting inside the opposing teams heads, and for that reason the fans are actually lodged inside the game. You’re not the basketball player who takes the open shot from the perimeter. You’re the screaming fan who makes the opposing team feel unwelcome during their visit to the free throw line.

Students can be the vibrant source of energy that fuels FAMU’s athletes. However, this energy isn’t in the air during games that statistically have low number of spectators.

Chris Jackson, a third year public relations student, has been on the swim team since he was a freshman and can attest to the need for fans’ support.

“It pumps me up when fans are cheering,” Jackson said.

Jackson added that more could be done to promote attendance at swim meets.

“I feel I should have the same opportunities as players in other sports,” Jackson said. “We have to take our own team picture.”

Last year, the men’s swim team finished third in the Northeastern Conference Championships in Landover, Md. The volleyball team has also had excellent seasons over the past years. The Lady Rattlers have won three consecutive MEAC championship titles.

“I didn’t know that fact that they had won three, I just read that they were set to win another one,” said Lydia Smith, a second year MBA student.

Smith said she wouldn’t mind attending volleyball games. “Yes I would go, if I knew when, I would definitely go,” Smith said.

Rodney Roberts, executive director of the Rattler Boosters, said this year he plans to put more emphasis on all athletic programs at FAMU by raising more funds. The boosters program has many smaller programs to acquire money for athletics. Most of the money the booster program receives is taken from the dues the booster members pay, but the booster program also has many fund-raisers such as an annual golf tournament to help FAMU Athletics.

“Most people may have the idea that the money is just for football, but it’s not. It’s for all sports,” Roberts said.

This year he is pushing for a national campaign that will establish booster programs nationwide.

“The number of our alumni are all over the country and we need to reach out to them and ask them to help us help FAMU Athletics.” Roberts said.

While it’s possible that this plan will bring FAMU Athletics more money, it may not increase student interest in sports besides football and basketball.

“A fact is that more fans want to see football and basketball,” Roberts said.

The another problem could be that a number of students don’t have a clue about FAMU’s women’s and men’s golf and tennis teams.

“What we have to do is expose people and let them know,” Roberts said.

Some FAMU students said they would be willing to help promote FAMU Athletics by making and handing out flyers.

“I could see students supporting Florida A&M sports as a whole,” said Maurice Slade, a second-year MBA student from Houston.

A number of athletes and coaches put forth time and effort in representing Florida A&M University’s athletic program, and a number of rattlers aren’t giving them the respect they deserve.

“They deserve much respect, they deserve a lot of respect,” said Daniel Jenkins, a freshman music education major.

contact Tejay Henderson at mrhendersonis@yahoo.com.