Why were 26 FAMU players inelligible to play and what did they say in their letter about it?
With the players angry over what they view as a negative narrative, how the University resolves the issue is anybody’s guess.
After a bizarre episode between the institution and its team, the players have decided to let the university know exactly how they feel about a number of issues.
Florida A&M players write a letter to university president
Following a game against North Carolina in which they saw 26 players absent from the lineup, the Florida A&M football team has written a harsh letter outlining their views to university president Dr. Larry Robinson. According to reports, the letter which was signed by 88 lays out a list of issues that they want to see resolved by the school. Issues included the timing of financial aid payments, academic support and compliance, summer school housing and meals, representation on the athletic director search committee and ticket allotments for the families of players.
The entire scenario stems from what was referred to as ‘poor academic advice and compliance,’ which resulted in some 26 players being ruled ineligible to play against the Tar Heels. Ultimately, though they were due credit for their efforts, the Rattlers couldn’t hold off North Carolina and eventually succumbed to a 56-24 defeat. Following a meeting with faculty and the athletics department, the team described the critique of ineligible players as “damaging” to the locker room. “It was very damaging to the morale of our football team to read on various media outlets, ‘26 FAMU Football Players Ruled Ineligible,’” the players wrote in their letter. “This narrative implies that we are not performing in the classroom. In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The issue at hand is not academic performance, but procedural issues within the registrar’s office, compliance department and academic advisement.”
Why did FAMU choose to play against North Carolina?
With so many players unavailable, one would think that perhaps the team would seek to have the game postponed, however, that’s not the way they saw it. Indeed, the Rattlers made it clear that they wanted to play for those who support them and not the University itself. Interestingly, the players also chose to kneel after the game was over and apparently intend to do so until the situation is resolved.
“On Friday, after much dialogue within our team, we decided to play at UNC,” the players wrote. “We determined that we would not play for this institution, but for our families, teammates, classmates, our rabid fanbase, and our coaches who had prepared us and loved us. We played our guts out, and in the process, two of our teammates suffered season-ending injuries. After the game, we decided to protest the Marching 100′s playing of the Florida Song and FAMU alma mater by kneeling during both songs. We will continue to do so until significant changes that facilitate a positive student-athlete experience are made. We will not sing a song that begins ‘College of Love and Charity...’ when we feel neither from this university.” Up next for Florida A&M is a date with Jackson State on Sunday September 4th at 3:00 p.m.