FAMU Athletics Director talks about cutting programs, balancing budget

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By: Kevin Keane | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
November 1, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- On Thursday, Florida A&M announced two sports, men's tennis and men's cross country, were getting cut in an attempt to ease a deficit in the budget of over $2 million.

The cutting of the sports was just a number of other cost-cutting measures the school plans to implement.

In a sit-down interview with WCTV, FAMU Athletic Director John Eason, who was named the full-time AD for Rattlers athletics last year, said these issues are much deeper than he anticipated when he first took the job.

"I did not anticipate some of the things that came about, but at the end of the day, they're problems that have to be solved and it's an opportunity to be solved and it's an opportunity to do and give back, so that's the way I look at it," Eason explained. "You just keep going from day to day, because, at the end of the day, it will be solved."

Both men's golf and cross country will get to finish out the upcoming 2020 seasons.

The school is also honoring all scholarships for the student athletes as long as they maintain academic standards.

One thing Eason did say is that the school is not moving down to Division II. Despite losing two programs, the athletic department still has enough men's and women's teams to compete at the Division I level.

Outside of cutting programs, the school also says they're relying heavily on three things to help resolve the $2.4 million budget:

  • Profits from money-making sports like football and men's basketball
  • Profits from merchandise
  • Donations from alumni and boosters

    Overall, Eason believes they can have all of this resolved by the next fiscal year, but he says they'll have to do it in a timely and efficient manner; something that hasn't happened under previous administrations.

    "I think we've gotta get it done by the next fiscal year," he said. "I look at it a little bit different in that, in the past, what we've done is that we waited until May or June and June was the end of the fiscal year and we were scrambling trying to come up with budget money to balance all of it.

    "I think if you remember in the past, and I think this year, I've found out up front, we identified it up up front, we're changing the procedure up front so now we know what we need."

    Eason's full sit down with WCTV can be seen in the video player above.

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