TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — On Monday, the 2022 Rattler football team released a letter addressed to FAMU President Dr. Larry Robinson.
The letter, signed by 89 players, addresses several issues the team has with the “student-athlete experience at FAMU.”
The letter highlights issues with academic support/compliance and summer school.
Specifically under academic support and compliance, the players point to an article published Friday about 20 FAMU players who were ineligible to play against UNC.
“It was very damaging to the morale of our football team to read in various media outlets,” the letter says. “This narrative implies that we are not performing in the classroom. In fact, that could not be further from the truth. The issue at hand is not academic performance, but procedural issues within the registrar’s office, the department of compliance and academic advising”.
FAMU only has one compliance advisor and one academic advisor for FAMU athletics, according to the university.
The players point this out in their letter, stating that the Academic Advising and Compliance offices are understaffed and “consist of one person, who has no experience in the matter of athletic compliance.”
“Currently, we have several players who have been deemed unable to participate in the competition because simple tasks such as changing majors, awarding titles, and submitting ratings have not been completed immediately,” the letter says.
The letter can be found in its entirety below:
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It was announced on Friday that twenty FAMU football players might not make the trip to North Carolina. Simmons said at the time that he was focused on compliance issues ranging from academics to transfers.
FAMU still traveled to Chapel Hill to play at the University of North Carolina this past weekend. Only seven offensive linemen could travel at the time, which isn’t enough to safely play a football game, Simmons said Friday. Offensive lineman TJ Lee was able to fly out later on Saturday as he was certified late.
Simmons said coaches currently provide academic support to players, something he’s never experienced as a player.
“We don’t have that support academically,” Simmons said.
Simmons also said the Southwestern Athletic Conference has sent people to help FAMU file waivers and get interpretations of the decisions to help get its athletes back on the field.
In 2019, FAMU faced a series of sanctions after the NCAA found that student-athletes over an eight-year period were ineligible to compete in 12 different sports.
They were issued a five-year probation and various other sanctions at the time. According to NCAA documents, FAMU filed an appeal for the financial portion of its sanctions, but lost.