Stats: Cash Flow in College Football
Dreams on Hold
Alone among the state’s football-playing schools at the 1-AA level, FAMU operates a modest but profitable program.
So which Florida college football team has won more national championships than any other? Florida A&M University, which won nine National Negro Collegiate Football Championships between 1938 and 1961, and another Black College title under legendary Coach Jake Gaither in 1964.
Even after integration siphoned away top African-American recruits who went on to stardom at formerly all-white colleges, the school maintained schedules among the toughest in Division 1-AA, in which it won the inaugural title in 1978.
In 2003, the NCAA approved the Rattlers’ bid to move to Division 1-A, but the university underestimated the financial implications, such as the ramifications of new football scholarships on Title IX gender-equity requirements. Meanwhile, the bid got caught up in the school’s larger management and accounting problems.
As the university retrenches, there’s consensus that its new president, alumnus James H. Ammons, must concentrate on FAMU’s academic mission rather than athletics. “I don’t think the Bowl Subdivision is a total pipedream, but if we do it again, we’re going to have to do it with our heads as well as our hearts,” says FAMU assistant athletic director Alvin Hollins.
Financially, Rattler football may look more modest than Florida’s Bowl Subdivision programs — it has 63 scholarships compared to 85 in Division 1-A — but it’s profitable for FAMU’s $7.1-million athletics department. The university’s football expenses were $776,342 in 2006. Revenue was $2,760,633, most of those in ticket sales and sponsorships,
for a profit of nearly $2 million.