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Cancellation of FAMU fall sports felt far beyond field

Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 10:19 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The impact of Thursday’s news of the cancelation of Florida A&M’s fall athletic season expands well beyond the locker room or the coach’s office.

For many in our area, Rattler gameday is a celebration of community pride.

Whether you’re stepping foot on campus for the first time, or a third-generation FAMU grad, gameday excitement is unparalleled.

It’s an experience that will remain a memory come this fall.

The crowds. The food. The Marching 100. All staples of fall on the Highest of the Seven Hills. All a part of a world that feels like a lifetime ago.

“There’s just not a safe path right now,” said former FAMU administrator Vaughn Wilson, who agrees with Thursday’s move.

Despite his support of the move, he knows gameday traditions, like homecoming weekend, will be sorely missed.

“Just seeing your classmates, some you haven’t seen in years and knowing you’ll have that reunion on FAMU’s campus, that’s what will be missed,” he said.

With those crowds come gameday vendors; many of which bleed orange and green.

“For me, FAMU gamedays were a big part of my childhood and a big part of my adulthood as well,” said apparel vendor Quentin Plair, a second-generation FAMU alum.

Plair estimates he’ll lose up to a third of his expected revenue without games this fall. But, he’s staying positive.

“Such is life, and it’s a great thing the students will be safe, the athletes will be safe,” he said. “So, we can deal with it.”

“This athletic department will need help from every Rattler to maintain financial balance through this very difficult time,” Wilson added.

But, with one certainty: The Rattlers will be back to strike.

Wilson also says football is a great sales pitch to potential students and notes enrollment could be affected by the suspended season.

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