Tallahassee, FL - September 12, 2012
There's been a major push to urge fans to support the FAMU Rattlers football team this year. It came after the Marching 100 was suspended this season due to hazing.
Saturday is the first home game without the band.
There's been a lot of concern about if Rattler fans would turn out now the Marching 100 won't be there.
But, it's making some fans want to support the team and university even more. Some fans say ticket sales will not suffer if they have anything to do with it
Tallahassee resident, Phillip Smith couldn't wait to pick up his FAMU football season tickets on Wednesday.
Phillip Smith, a FAMU Season Ticket holder: "I'm a die hard FAMU football fan. I think I'd have to have a lobotomy in order to get that out of my mind."
The Rattlers' first home game this Saturday will not go down without Smith sitting in the same seat of more than 15 years... Section D, row 22, seat 32.
Smith: "Sometimes someone will come in there and sit in my seat and when I'm walking up, I can hear them tell them, I told you he was coming."
Smith says even without the Marching 100 on the field, he'll be there.
The band was suspended for the 2012-2013 academic year after drum major Robert Champion died from hazing last November.
Despite the fear that people like Smith would be the minority, the athletics director at FAMU says season ticket sales have been trending on average, which is about 3,000 to 3,200.
Derek Horne, FAMU Director of Athletics: "I think that people realize that it's about the team, it's about these young men. But, it's also about this university. So, everybody understands that at this point, let's go ahead and support those guys because they're playing real hard."
Mused Smith: "I don't think they'll kick off if I'm not there."
Horne says the biggest bulk of ticket sales usually happens the week of the first home game, so with kickoff at 6 against Hampton University on Saturday, he hopes to see plenty more people head to the ticket office by then.