FAMU players and coaches react to newfound freedom

On Feb. 10, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced that Florida A&M’s athletic probation has ended.

James Elworth, the assistant director of the NCAA committee of infractions, wrote a letter to President James Ammons about the probationary period ending on Jan.31.

FAMU’s athletic department was placed on probation Feb. 1, 2006 for several infractions such as athletes competing without meeting the 24 credit hour criteria, not completing
NCAA paperwork, and not meeting the minimum grade-point average requirement.

Because of such infractions, the NCAA enforced penalties on all athletic teams.

These penalties included the reduction of grants and scholarship funding for 15 sports, football practice being reduced by 20 hours and the development of  comprehensive educational and testing session on NCAA rules.

The NCAA recognized conference imposed penalties, including the return of $175,000 in revenue sharing, and conference championships when ineligible players attended.

President Ammons was appreciative from the news about the department being released from probation.

“This means a lot for FAMU,” said Ammons. “We are now able to move ahead in our athletic programs.” FAMU will have the opportunity to recruit more athletes on the basis of
grants and scholarship money, which may play a role in the success of the teams.

Joseph Taylor, coach of FAMU’s football team, said the athletic department has
made a major recovery. “When everything is in compliance it makes the whole atmosphere more refreshing,” said Taylor.

The football team will be given the opportunity to gain more practice hours in enhancing the team’s performance.

Taylor said a lot of the things would not be changed on the field because of education and personal business.

“They still will have Mondays to take care of school work and other things like

“More practice will always help,” said Steven Brazzle, 23, a senior criminal
justice major from Coatesville, Pa. Brazzle will not get a chance to experience the athletic team being off of probation due to graduation, however, he said with more money given out for scholarships the team will have more high-quality players.

The probation not only affected the football team, it also had a major impact on other teams such as tennis, volleyball, track, and baseball.

“This is great for the baseball team,”said Tim Jones, 21, a third year health care management student from Lithonia, Georgia and a player on FAMU’s baseball
team. “Our practices were only two hours last year.”

Jones said last year the team was short on pitching. The team had to spend a lot
of time raising money for the financial needs of the team.

The team’s probationary period concluded because of the school’s success
in abiding by set principles.

Ammons said he fully expects the school to remain committed to compliance with
the NCAA rules.

“I want to congratulate our athletic staff for their commitment to abiding by the rules and regulations of the NCAA so that FAMU can again enjoy the full membership without any sanctions.”