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Saving the FAMU Four

By: Leonard Horton
By: Leonard Horton

Four sports at Florida A&M University were cut this summer, and since then there's been a push by trustees and others to bring them back.

University officials say right now only a fraction of the money needed to fund those sports has been raised.

Mark Howell, the former coach of the school's swimming and diving program, lost his job when the sports were cut this summer. He now teaches with an area high school.

"I still get e-mails everyday from kids in Texas and California who want to come here and swim. It was an unfortunate situation that an HBCU was becoming competitive," says Howell.

The budget for all of the sports combined adds up to about $500,000. The hope is during this homecoming week a renewed interest in the sports can be sparked.

"We have coaches reaching out to our former players. We have other people who are on the phone with alumni and supporters throughout the country, so we do expect to see the numbers to change," says university spokesperson Lenedra Carroll.

Only about $5,000 have gone to the school's “Save the FAMU Four Campaign.”

The Friends for FAMU Athletics Campaign, started by FAMU trustee R. B. Holmes, has seen about $300,000.

Phillip Agnew, the university's student body president, says, "Student outcry has died down somewhat. A lot of students are simply discouraged with the situation in athletics."

Spokeswoman Carroll says the university president has made verbal no commitment as of yet toward the sports, but is closely looking at the school's recent $8 million surplus.


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