Ramsey quits, leaves many with questions

With the resignation of Athletic Director Joseph P. Ramsey II being made official Monday, many questions arose as to why exactly he resigned when he had been making progress.

There are many factors people feel could have influenced his decision, but Ramsey is the only one who knows.

Ramsey is also the only one who knows why, when asked by The Famuan if he was resigning Thursday, he responded, “If I were, you’d know,” and less than a week later resigned.

An obvious factor is the large financial debt the University currently faces.

The Athletic Department began the 2004-2005 fiscal year about $700,000 in debt , which could grow to about $2 million by the end of this fiscal year.

There is also speculation that Ramsey’s resignation had a lot to do with the recent resignations of five football assistant coaches whose replacements have yet to be found.

The process might be delayed not only because of Ramsey’s resignation, but because Football Head Coach Billy Joe’s future at FAMU is still uncertain. Joe’s contract expires Dec. 31 and Ramsey had not decided whether it should be renewed.

Joe’s contract might have been put to the side because of all the problems Ramsey inherited from his predecessors.

Last summer, the school was stripped of 11 titles, including the 2000 and 2001 MEAC football championship titles, because the NCAA found FAMU to have racked up 196 rules violations.

Ebenezer Oriaku, the school’s NCAA faculty representative, said FAMU only has three or four real violations.

That number ballooned because of the administration’s failure to address the original issues.

“They are all minor violations,” he said.

“But when you have so many, they eventually become a problem.”

Among the violations, Oriaku said, are write-ups for student-athletes failing to sign drug consent forms and students not taking the required amount of hours.

“When a student-athlete takes a class over, it doesn’t count when credit hours are tallied,” he said.

“The problems are not with the students. It’s more of a failure to double-check paperwork before submitting it to the NCAA.”

The entire Athletic Department, especially Director of Compliance Jonathan Evans, is under the watchful eye of the NCAA, which is conducting an ongoing investigation.

Derrick Morgan, the assistant executive director of the Rattler Booster Club, felt the change was necessary.

“Change was needed,” Morgan said. “Students, faculty and alumni alike went through a lot of growing pains trying to go Division 1.”

Attempting to move the football team to Division I-A could have also been a potential reason for the resignation.

FAMU attempted to move divisions late in 2003 and early in 2004.

A number of reasons including a basketball gymnasium and football field that is too small and a lack of handicap friendly facilities stopped the move.

“Before making any moves one has to do some visibility studies,” Oriaku said. “I don’t think we did that.”

Despite several contract infractions by not moving to Division I-A, FAMU escaped without any school taking any legal actions against the University.

Only one person truly knows why Ramsey resigned – that is Ramsey himself.

“FAMU has always been on the edge of tipping over,” Oriaku said, “but they somehow figure out a way to stay afloat.”

“It is going to be a big task, but I am very confident that FAMU will get its act together, Oriaku added.

“They always have.”

Contact Arize Ifejika at arize_ifejika@yahoo.com