‘Minor’ sports seek more support

FAMU golfer Ethan Kelly. Photo courtesy: Kelly

Florida A&M University has more than  a dozen intercollegiate athletic programs.

Recently, FAMU football has been the hot-button topic for athletics — as it often is. As fall begins, many supporters are looking to follow along with the progress of their favorite teams.

Social media plays a key role in engaging students and alumni in Rattler nation. While football regularly receives attention, other sports programs feel there is room for more inclusive social media coverage.

Students and athletes are holding the university accountable and demanding more from Florida A&M athletics.

The expedited response to FAMU football has other athletic teams wondering when they will receive the same attention.

Myles Chapman, who does long jump for men’s track and field, joined the team in 2020. Chapman says he has not seen the same amount of attention for his sport as others, and he said it is disappointing.

“There are so many talented athletes here that are winning and deserve to be highlighted and feel loved,” Chapman said. “I’ve been to multiple track meets where there was no one around to even make a post.”

First-year students new to campus are not surprised by football having a dominant presence on social media. Ethan Kelly, a freshman golf athlete, says golf has always been underrepresented but he loves it just the same.

“As golfers we’ve always been the underdog of sports, but we represent FAMU so well and play to the best of our abilities to give everyone something to show off,” Kelly said. “We would really appreciate it if we were shown more love considering we earned rings last year.”

London Shaw, a senior thrower for women’s track and field, said it is impossible to ignore the inequalities when other athletic teams are compared to football. The track and field team recently joined a new conference where they compete at a different level. Shaw said despite the tough changes they persisted but received almost no recognition.

“I can’t even count on my fingers the number of times people have asked me when and how they can support our team as we compete,” Shaw said. “People always know when there is a football game, but when other teams are set to have meets or matches the student body doesn’t know.”

Students hope to see more coverage this year of sports such as volleyball, bowling, tennis and golf on social media. Florida A&M athletics is partnered with Ticketmaster where students can receive free and discounted tickets to support the university’s student-athletes. To stay up to date on upcoming sporting events you can follow @Famuathletics on Instagram and Twitter.