Florida A&M responds to letter from football players demanding financial and compliance support following eligibility issues

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida A&M football team, which considered not traveling to the season opener in North Carolina last week, openly questions the level of financial and compliance support players receive from the college.

Nearly 90 players wrote a scathing letter to school president Larry Robinson on Sunday, a day after the team lost 56-24 to the Tar Heels while playing without 26 ineligible players. FAMU received $450,000 to make the trip to Chapel Hill.

The letter implored Robinson for “changes made now” and says “we are not interested in any more empty dialogue with you or your staff.” The letter says the players took a knee in protest during two school songs that were played after the game and will continue to do so “until significant changes are made that facilitate a positive student-athlete experience.”

FAMU plays Jackson State in the Orange Blossom Classic in Miami on Sunday, a game televised nationally on ESPN2.

The letter clarifies that the players were not declared eligible based on academic performance but rather because of “procedural issues within the registry office, compliance department and academic counselling.” FAMU has one compliance advisor and one academic advisor for athletics, according to the university.

Among the issues detailed in the letter include financial aid not being awarded in a timely manner to buy books, enroll in classes and avoid evictions.

The university responded by saying that it is committed to maintaining a culture of compliance and adhering to NCAA guidelines.

“We are confident that our processes are effective and timely,” the school said Tuesday. “We will continue to monitor our efforts in this regard and seek every avenue to provide an excellent student experience for every athlete. FAMU is committed to maintaining high standards and rigorous adherence to NCAA guidelines.”

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The letter alleges problems with the “student-athlete experience at FAMU,” which has the second-largest enrollment of any historically black college or university in the US. It also says there is no student-athlete representation at the committee seeking a new athletic director. Former FAMU athletic director Kortne Gosha resigned in April and has since been hired by Tulane as a senior associate athletic director.

Among the players declared ineligible were linebacker Isaiah Land, the best defender in the Football Championship Subdivision last season and a possible 2023 NFL draft prospect, and right tackle Cam Covin. Land and Covin have retained attorney Tom Mars, who has a history of helping college players with NCAA eligibility issues.

“I don’t think anyone in college sports has ever witnessed a bigger mistake by the university or a more unfair punishment directed at the players, the only people in this mess who did everything right,” Mars said in a released statement. . On twitter.

“If a parent doesn’t file a tax return, the IRS doesn’t punish their kids. But this is the college sports equivalent of doing just that.”

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