NCAA Approves Florida A&M For Division 1-A Football
July 21, 2003
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (July 21) -- Florida A&M University announced Monday
afternoon that the NCAA Reclassification Committee had officially approved its'application to move to Division 1-A football.
The favorable ruling means that FAMU can proceed full steam
with plans to play as a Division 1-A program next year. FAMU
Interim Athletic Director
J.R.E. Lee, III was elated at the NCAA'˜s decision Monday
"This is a great day for Florida A&M Athletics and
NCAA's decision will allow us to move full speed ahead
with our plans to take
not only football, but the total athletic program to the highest level," Lee
FAMU President Dr. Fred Gainous said of Monday's
pleased with the efforts of the Board of Trustees and the Athletic Department
this historic move. The NCAA has placed the ball on the one-yard line and we
are certainly going to score."
Florida A&M, which began Division 1-AA play 25 years
ago (1978), has been a perennial Top 25 program since 1995.
Head coach Billy Joe was also excited about the announcement.
"I'm extremely pleased that the NCAA has granted us Division
1-A status. This will
immediately level the playing field for us in competition with other Division
programs, especially in the area of recruiting," Joe said.
"We are aware that we must get our infrastructure in order,
staffing, scholarships, coaches, funding and facilities before we can consider
ourselves a full-fledged Division 1-A program," Joe added.
FAMU has played a number of Division 1-A teams since 1979,
when they upset the University of Miami, 16-13, in their first-ever
matchup against an
upper division foe. In addition to the six meetings (1979, 1980, 1992, 1995,
1999, 2002) with Miami, the rattlers have also faced Temple
(1986) and Troy
(Ala.) State (2002). The University of Florida is on this yearâ€™s
schedule, Sept. 13
Illinois and Oklahoma slated as opening road games for FAMU in 2004.