Column: Money games aren’t worth the paycheck

Columnist Vladimir Cadet Photo courtesy Vladirmir Cadet

It’s time for FAMU to stop playing UCF and Miami at the start of every football season. Sure, the athletic department needs money, but these games stain the university’s reputation and can damage the morale of the student-athletes.

The Rattlers took on the Hurricanes to open the 2016 season and the result was exactly what you would expect it to be. It wasn’t even close with the final score 70-3. This was honestly a backyard game of football for Miami.

The two teams play in different conferences with the Rattlers in the MEAC and the Hurricanes in the ACC. Miami had three players rush for more than 100 yards and each scored at least one touchdown. Miami had 523 total yards over FAMU’s 197.

FAMU versus University of Miami in 2016
Photo courtesy of Tallahassee Democrat

What is the point in playing these games? It’s hard to be a student-athlete and lose like this on national television. Not only that, it can hurt the future recruiting class. Kids who are graduating seniors in high school and want an opportunity to win or compete – not lose to an opponent by 67 points.

FAMU is a D1 FCS school, and to play an opponent in your season opener that’s in a different and tougher conference isn’t fair to the players at FAMU. The Hurricanes are bigger, faster and stronger. For any team, any loss you take hurts. But this loss does more than hurt you; it makes you contemplate everything from the coaches, team, players, etc.

Another game that was pointless to play was this year’s season opener, when FAMU went to Orlando to play UCF. Just like the Miami game, this was exactly how you expected it to be with the Knights crushing the Rattlers. 62-0, UCF also plays in a different conference (D1 FBS, The American) from FAMU. UCF had 694 total yards to FAMU’s 96.

Photo courtesy

Playing these games doesn’t benefit our university. Yes, it makes headlines facing teams such as Miami and UCF. But you can guarantee you’ll see FAMU on the wrong side of ESPN the next morning and it’s bad when the highlight of the entire game is the punter punting the ball 11 times.

Sure, the athletic department needs money, but is it worth it to play these games against opponents who are at a different level? Being seen on national television getting smacked up and down the field? Leaving a bad mark on the student-athletes?

These games mean nothing to a team like Miami or UCF. This is just a backyard game to these big programs. But, for the players at FAMU, it’s different. They train and work their bodies all summer long. Waiting for the season to start and to open it off against these teams.

It’s not fair to the players, the coaches, or the fans who support their school and see a beatdown and hear it from everyone on every corner. Yes, there are more games to be played, but there’s no point in opening a long-waited season against these top-tier teams.