Officials look to improve athletic department

A combination of recent and ongoing problems in the athletic department has many wondering what is the state of the program.

It’s evident that the athletic department has its work cut out for it.

Fixing an expected deficit of $1.9 million is just one of the program’s worries. It also has the task of finding a new athletic director, and working out head coach Billy Joe’s contractual situation.

Many FAMU employees directly involved with the department feels that it is not as big of an issue as it may seem.

“This is nothing new or unique to FAMU, they will hire new people, things will continue to get better and they will move on,” said Derrick Morgan, assistant executive director of the Rattler Booster Club.

The responsibility of rebuilding the athletic staff as well as restoring the financial deficit will lie on the shoulders of Interim President Castell Bryant.

While she is only the interim president Bryant has taken steps towards getting things turned around.

Bryant brought in Nelson E. Townsend as her consultant to assess the current situation.

Townsend will also give her advice that will aid in the effort to get things going in the right direction.

Many also speculated that Townsend, a former FAMU athletic director and current University of Maryland Eastern Shore athletic director, would be Ramsey’s successor, but Townsend denied the claim.

Rodney Roberts, the assistant athletic director for development said that in order for things to get better, FAMU has to bring in an athletic director who is truly committed to bringing the athletic department back to the level that it needs to be on.

Personally, Roberts feels the change will not affect him.

“I was with IBM for a little under 20 years and I’ve learned to adjust to change over the years.

FAMU should just take it as a fact of life and move on.”

Whether it’s President Bryant or a future leader it’s been made obvious that they will have the support of the faculty in any moves or decisions they make for the program.

“I support her in whatever she does,” said Ebenezer Oriaku, the NCAA faculty representative.

Bryant, along with Director of Compliance Jonathan Evans, will also have to clean up those problems that caused FAMU to receive 196 violations with the NCAA.

The NCAA is conducting an investigation, which could result in FAMU being put on probation.

The NCAA declined to comment for this article.

With all of the obvious and not so obvious problems, the current state of the athletic program is an enigma.

“It’s going to be a big task, no one can say who, or what cause it, but we are here. If everyone comes together and we collectively get our act together, I am sure we will turn things around and we’ll be better off for it,” said Oriaku.

Contact Arize Ifejika at