FAMU, we can do better than this

Men’s tennis player, photo courtesy famu athletics

The FAMU student body was notified on Thursday that the athletics department would be cutting the men’s cross country and tennis teams in an effort to offset a projected $2.3 million deficit in the athletics department budget, according to information provided by the university to students, staff and faculty.

The student body and alumni took to social media right away to express their concerns as to why this is happening.

It’s beyond hard to understand why FAMU is experiencing budget cuts and we are simply underfunded even with the influx of funding from alumni to the athletics department. Between head football coach Willie Simmons’ fundraising in the summer and the money that poured in during homecoming, it  apparently wasn’t enough to keep the ship afloat.

John Eason, FAMU’s athletic director (at least for now) was said to have the final decision, so is this why he submitted his resignation last month — only to have President Larry Robinson reportedly not accept it?

As a student from the outside looking in, the solution wasn’t morally correct and it may not have been  monetarily efficient. And this institution is indeed a business.

Whether our motto is “Love and Charity,” there is not enough to keep the lights on and buildings running.

The football and basketball teams and other sports that have caused us to encounter a post-season ban also are the same teams that bring in the most revenue.

It sounds like not only the Athletic Department but FAMU as well needs a lesson in financial responsibility when it comes to allocating money and developing budgets.

The bottom line: the men’s tennis and cross country teams have brought in more success than the basketball programs, which do not make money and in fact encounter staggering losses due to cross-country travel. And due to the ongoing cuts, $1 million has been lost in athletic scholarships as well.

But this says a lot about heart and commitment when you see that the tennis coach has been volunteering his time and students are still enrolled when what they’ve come to school to do other than get an education has been stripped away from them.

FAMU is simply robbing Peter to pay Paul. And it looks like Paul might not be getting much, either.

“I wasn’t willing to budget ‘hope’ anymore,” said Richard Schweigert, interim CFO and Vice President of Administration.

But what happened to Charity? And Love? FAMU, I know we can do better.