Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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FAMU footballers tell the president why they kneel

the Florida A&M The saga of ineligible football players continued on Monday, when disgruntled players wrote a letter to university president Dr. Larry Robinson to express their concerns about the latest decisions and the current state of athletics.

last thursday night FAMU was informed by the NCAA that it had 26 non-certified or ineligible playersdiscarding them for Week 0 season opener loss at North Carolina.

The Rattlers’ flight to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Friday was delayed more than six hours as FAMU and the NCAA tried to resolve the issues.

FAMU footballers shared and expressed their frustrations in a five-page letter signed by 89 players. The players said they have been misadvised, underrepresented and underappreciated.

Hours after the letter began circulating on social media, the university responded in an emailed statement late Monday, saying: “We are confident that our processes are effective and timely. We will continue to monitor our efforts in this regard.” And we will pursue every avenue to provide a great student experience for all athletes.”

The players in their letter also said they plan to continue kneeling after the game in protest during the playing of Florida Song and the FAMU alma mater of the Marching 100 until “significant changes are made that facilitate a positive student-athlete experience.”

The team took a knee in protest following Saturday’s 56-24 loss at UNC.

Players also said that the narrative of ineligible players is incorrect and implies that “we are not performing in the classroom.” The players pointed to the university’s procedural problems within the registrar’s office, the compliance department, and academic advising.

“We have kept these issues within the university structure, but since they have not been adequately resolved, we will forward this statement to the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors,” the letter said.

MORE RATTLER NEWS COVERAGE

► Stay positive: Willie Simmons optimistic FAMU football can reinstate ineligible or uncertified players

► Vaughn Wilson speaks: We are tired of this. FAMU alum challenges President Robinson to support athletics and compliance

► My thoughts: FAMU made the right decision to play UNC, taking an early look at Jackson State | Thomas

Florida A&M University linebacker Isaiah Land (31) rejoices during fall training camp, August 10, 2022

Isaiah Land passes classes, but can’t play

The players state in the card that 2021 Buck Buchanan Award winner and Division I sack leader Isaiah Land He got the wrong advice for his summer classes.

Registered ground for three two-hour credit classes to get closer to earning your bachelor’s degree. He took and passed the classes, but was deemed ineligible last week, citing that he needed three more hours to be classified as satisfactory in academic progress.

Land tweeted on Sunday that “I can’t wait to get dressed with my boys again, but only in God’s time. To clarify, I am ineligible for a reason beyond my control, but I CAN’T AND WILL NOT BE DENIED.”

The letter stated that FAMU only has one compliance officer who does not have any knowledge or assistance in athletic compliance. With more than 300 student-athletes, the players questioned how a one-person staff could get their job done accurately and quickly.

“It was very damaging to the morale of our football team to read in various media outlets, ’26 FAMU football players declared ineligible,'” the letter said. “The root of this problem is the fact that our Academic Advising and Compliance Officers are understaffed.

“The compliance office consists of one person who has no athletic compliance experience. How can this person be expected to certify over three hundred athletes in a timely manner?”

Florida A&M University running back Jaylen McCloud (28) celebrates a touchdown during a game between FAMU and Grambling State University at FAMU Homecoming at Bragg Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021.

Players feel they have no voice

FAMU is still conducting final interviews for a new Director of Athletics.

As the university nears a new hire, no student-athletes have been added to the available 18-person search committee. The players mentioned the need for the school to be open-minded by not eliminating candidates who were not previously affiliated with FAMU.

“With regard to the next athletic director, we believe the person selected should have extensive management experience from successful NCAA member institutions, an efficient organizational structure model to address current existing staffing shortfalls, and a proven track record of successful fundraising. “, the letter said. .

“The idea of ​​placing a person in the position because of ties to FAMU does not appeal to us at all. We need fresh ideas and innovation to reach the level of excellence that FAMU Athletics is capable of.”

Florida A&M University wide receiver Xavier Smith (19) runs the ball during a game between Florida A&M University and Fort Valley State University at Bragg Memorial Stadium in Tallahassee on Saturday, September 11, 2021.

Florida A&M University wide receiver Xavier Smith (19) runs the ball during a game between Florida A&M University and Fort Valley State University at Bragg Memorial Stadium in Tallahassee on Saturday, September 11, 2021 .

Decrease in the number of tickets

When players make the decision to commit and sign with FAMU, this includes some leaving home for a new location.

Players say the transition has been complicated by the late arrival of financial aid. Players said: “We were reportedly told, ‘It’s a new system and it’s taking longer than usual to go live.'”

The players described these responses in their letter as “completely unacceptable. This delay in funding has repeatedly left us unable to pay for our basic needs.”

Previously, players were credited with four tickets for family and friends to attend.

Just a week ago, players were told that tickets will be reduced to two tickets per player, prompting families planning to attend to buy tickets to the North Carolina game on short notice.

“Our family and support systems should not be overwhelmed in this way,” the letter said.

“The vast majority of them incur hotel and travel expenses, and facilitating game tickets should require minimal effort from our athletic administration.”

Players expressed that their FAMU experience has not lived up to expectations or promises.

“Dr. Robinson, when we signed our letters of intent to become student-athletes at FAMU, we agreed to perform at our best in the classroom, on the field, and in the community,” the letter read.

“How can we realistically be expected to perform at a high level when we worry about having adequate academic resources and whether or not we will have a roof over our heads and food for our bodies?”

In a statement issued by the university on Saturday morning, President Robinson promised changes.

“Issues raised by these young people will get our full time and attention and will be prioritized by our newly established Athletics Support Committee, which includes administrators and staff from across the college community. These matters will be a permanent item on the agenda of my weekly Senior Leadership team meetings We will see progress.

FAMU responds to footballer’s discomfort

On Monday night, FAMU released a statement in response to Rattler Football’s letter to the president.

In its response, the compliance team claimed to have successfully completed the assessments to complete the NCAA certification process on August 11 and submit waivers on August 13, nearly two weeks before the August 25 ineligible rulings and the first kickoff in North Carolina.

The university said that 13 of the 14 Rattlers athletic programs met the Academic Progress Rate (APR) requirements according to the NCAA’s November 2021 APR Report “despite rumors and misinformation to the contrary.” “.

FAMU’s football team, according to NCAA data released in June, did not meet the 930 threshold requirement in 901, the lowest mark in Division I.

While FAMU did not name the non-compliant program in its release, the university shared that its compliance team “has been working diligently with Athletics since fall 2021 to implement plans for the remaining non-compliant program to be APR compliant.” required and join the others”. for 100 percent compliance to be achieved

“FAMU is committed to maintaining high standards and rigorous adherence to NCAA guidelines,” the university said in its statement.

►Read the full letter here

Gerald Thomas III covers FAMU athletics for the Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him via email at gdthomas@gannett.com or on Twitter @3peatgee.

Follow the Tallahassee Democrat on social media at Tallahassee Democrat (Facebook), Tallahassee Democrat (Instagram) and @TDOnline (Twitter)

This article originally appeared in the Tallahassee Democrat: FAMU Football: Players stand up in letter to the university’s rector

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