FAMU Relays canceled due to construction

Florida A&M University parking lots closed for building of
Center for Access and Student Success.
Photo credit: ​Thaddaeus Watkins

The annual FAMU Relays, one of FAMU Athletics’ signature springtime events, has been canceled this year.

Construction on the Center for Access and Student Success (CASS,) is a major factor in the cancellation of FAMU Relays. The building will be located on Wahnish Way, north of Gaither Gymnasium and west of the track. Currently, the area is gated and being prepared for construction, eliminating any handicap parking near the track.

Second-year broadcast journalism student Alexis Johnson understands why the event was canceled but is confused as to why construction is just now beginning.

“If the construction for CASS was going to create so many problems, they should have started building during the upcoming summer semester,” said Johnson.

CASS will essentially serve as a student affairs facility and house offices such as recruitment, financial aid, registrar and more.

In an email sent out to FAMU students, FAMU Director of Athletics John Eason wanted to ensure students, participants and guests of FAMU Relays are aware that safety is a major priority.

“We have considered other options to clear a path for access to the track complex, however, due to the forward movement of the construction, the safety and convenience of our fans is a concern, and we feel it is in the best interest of everyone to forgo the FAMU Relays until next year,” Eason said in the email.

FAMU Relay had been scheduled to take place on March 3. However, FAMU Athletics concluded that the safety and wellbeing of individuals overruled an environment with risks of danger or injury.

This year would have made the 66th installment of FAMU Relays.

FAMU Relays is hosted at the Robert “Pete” Griffin Track complex and brings out a large number of supporters every year. 

As the event is hosted on Rattler turf, the student body makes sure to support their Rattler athletes with as much pride as possible. The goal is to receive as many wins in as many track and field events as possible.

Ajayi Pickering, a third-year biology pre-med student at American University, attended FAMU Relays in 2017 to support a family member. It was Pickering’s first visit to Tallahassee.

“The track and field events were enjoyable,” Pickering said. “Athletes from all institutions performed well and were extremely skillful.”

The one-stop student center will cost the university around $40 million. Currently, the university is seeking additional funds from the state Legislature to complete the project.