The fallout from Florida A&M’s ineligible player roster situation continues after members of the football team published a letter to the school’s president expressing that “the student-athlete experience” and morale have been compromised.
In a letter written addressed to FAMU President Larry Robinson, “The 2022 Rattler Football Team” indicated that it has experienced issues with financial aid, academic support, and overall university support.
The seven-page document, signed by 89 players, outlined that the grievances were exposed because they have “not been adequately resolved” by school administrators.
The players explained they had issues with how the school handled NCAA compliance that resulted in 26 Rattlers being ineligible to compete at North Carolina on Saturday, though six were eventually cleared prior to the game.
That, the players said, “was very damaging to the morale of our football team to read on various media outlets,” the letter states. “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.”
The players also chided the university for only employing one compliance officer and one academic adviser for the program.
The athletic department, the letter alleges, “consists of one person, who has no subject matter expertise in athletic compliance.”
“Currently, we have multiple players that have been deemed unable to participate in competition because simple tasks such as changing of majors, conferring of degrees and the submission of grades have not been completed promptly,” the letter states.
The players defended star linebacker Isaiah Land, who was one of 20 players ruled not eligible to participate on Saturday. The letter alleged that Land was only deemed not in compliance because he was misled by an academic advisor over class requirements and credit hours needed to be on course toward graduation.
“Our campus partners also share responsibility in this fiasco,” the letter stated. “During the admissions process, several of us had to submit academic transcripts, letters of recommendations, and immunization records multiple times because prior submissions were either misplaced or never forwarded to the proper departments.”
The players also challenged Robinson’s commitment to a statement he made regarding player concerns.
“You stated in your address on (Saturday) that, ‘We have shared a commitment to a culture of accountability and compliance,'” the letter states. “Are the actions and staffing plans of the current university and athletic administrators in alignment with this statement?”
On Saturday, Robinson, in his own statement, said the university will prioritize concerns and issues raised by members of the football team.
Robinson indicated in the statement that a recently established Athletics Support Committee, which includes administrators and staff associated with the university will look into the issues that concerned the players.
“The issues raised by these young men will get our full time and attention,” said Robinson. “These matters will be a standing agenda item at my weekly Senior Leadership Team meetings. We will see progress.”
Additionally, the players also expressed disappointment that no current FAMU athletes — including football players — are involved in the school’s search for an athletic director.
The university currently employs Michael Smith as interim athletic director since it parted ways with Kortne Gosha in April.
“It is important students’ voices are considered in shaping the future of this institution,” according to the letter. “Concerning the next athletic director, it is our belief that the individual selected should have extensive administrative experience from successful NCAA member institutions.”
The full letter can be read below.