Is Florida A&M joining Div I-A?

Discussion in 'The Tiger's Den' started by DarkHornet, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. DarkHornet

    DarkHornet Louisiana Sports Fan

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    On NationalChamps.net they have Div I-A schedules and in independents I see Florida A&M. I hadn't heard anything else about them joining Div I-A, so I was wondering if someone else knew something about it.

    http://www.inside99.net/index.htm
     
  2. Jetstorm

    Jetstorm Freshman

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    They announced before last season that they were going Division 1-A. The first black college to attempt to do so.

    Personally, I don't think they will make it on their own. In addition to their school being in some serious financial trouble at this time, their program is built too much on the traditions of rivalries with other HBCU's. They won't be able to play those schools much anymore because of the five 1-A home games requirement. If they join a conference like the Sun Belt, which is the only option out there for them right now, their attendance (they averaged over 19K in 2002, pretty good for a 1-AA school) will go way down, and it's gonna be hard to win new fans in their market, with Florida State right across town. All of it will add up to a vicious cycle which will send them back to 1-AA with their tail between their legs by 2010, if not sooner.

    If the HBCU's want to go 1-A, I think they should do it unilaterally. As in, the whole SWAC and the whole MEAC go 1-A together, and set up their own bowl game (remember the Heritage Bowl? Just learn the lessons of why it failed and don't repeat the same mistakes). I think they could do it, and it would certainly raise the profile, media attention, and talent pool of their schools enough to ensure black colleges viability for the next few decades. Besides, it's not like they compete in the 1-AA playoffs anyway.
     
  3. LSUTigers1404

    LSUTigers1404 Founding Member

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    If all the HBCU schools went DI-A the Bayou Classic would probabaly become even bigger than it already is.
     
  4. Jetstorm

    Jetstorm Freshman

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    It's impossible for the Bayou Classic to become bigger than it already is. It has heavyweight corporate sponsors, sells out the 'Dome every year, and is on national TV. It doesn't get any bigger than that. But the game would be deemed by more mainstream college football fans to "mean more" if it were between Division 1-A teams and not Division 1-AA teams. Purely a perception thing.

    I would love to see the HBCUs, as well as the Ivy League, go 1-A. Their prestige and reputations could help purify the sport, it would instantly end the issue of not enough black head coaches, and it would end the problems these schools have with D1-AA, like not going to the playoffs. They stick out like a sore thumb in D1-AA.

    The problem with HBCUs going 1-A are this:

    -like D1-A, HBCUs are divided between strong, powerful, healthy programs (Southern, Grambling State, Jackson State, Florida A&M, Howard) who could easily transition to 1-A, and small, weak, unstable programs (Prairie View A&M, Mississippi Valley State, South Carolina State) who would need a lot of help to make it in 1-A. One remedy for this would be to create an HBCU "super-conference" of the strongest programs in 1-A, and keep the rest in 1-AA.

    - Bowls. The Heritage Bowl failed because of low attendance, low ratings, and they lost their corporate sponsor (McDonald's). Fact is, nobody wanted to watch two Division 1-AA teams play a bowl game except for HBCU enthusiasts. A true D1-A bowl game would be a whole lot easier to sell. And they should show the halftime show; HBCU bands are quite popular.

    -Money. D1-A can be immensely profitable, but you have to spend money to make money. And the HBCUs have had severe money problems lately, even at the biggest and best of them. FAMU, Grambling St., Southern, and Robert Morris all have had severe financial difficulties in the last decade. They are certainly in no condition to invest the millions of dollars necessary for a move up to 1-A.

    -Politics. Most HBCU supporters are frightened of change. And the politicians in HBCU states would see this as an expensive boondoggle for colleges they see as dinosaurs anyway. Take Louisiana for example. I don't think many LSU supporters would be too thrilled about Southern going 1-A, because that means we might play them in football, something many have tried to avoid happening in the past. La. Tech and ULM certainly wouldn't like Grambling State going 1-A, and the pressure for them to play would be even more intense. Issues like this are present in other states and even if it became a "race issue," that may not be enough to fix it.

    But I think all of these problems could be solved in time if the HBCUs worked together to go 1-A as a group, helping the weaker programs with the transition, and setting up and properly funding a bowl game at a neutral site to be the "Black College National Championship." I think it would be a great move for them long term.
     
  5. LSUTigers1404

    LSUTigers1404 Founding Member

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    That's what I meant. More people around the country would consider it a big game.
     
  6. Houma Tiger

    Houma Tiger Freshman

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    only if they could compete in D-1 . if both teams were 1-9 or 2-8 every year come game time , the national attention would fade some, but they would still have the bands
     
  7. Chip82

    Chip82 Freshman

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    The Gators need an in-state rival that they can actually beat every year.

    They haven't beat either Miami or FSU since Spurrier left.
     
  8. DarkHornet

    DarkHornet Louisiana Sports Fan

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    UCF and South Florida is already Div I-A
     
  9. Chip82

    Chip82 Freshman

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    Florida actually played Florida A & M this past season.

    I doubt that Florida will bother with UCF or USF, especially if the Gator program continues to slide.

    I suspect that Florida will probably have another 8-5 year in 2004.
     
  10. DJBurke

    DJBurke Freshman

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    Why did they get rid of the Heritage Bowl?
     

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