TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Twenty Florida A&M university football players might not make the trip to North Carolina for this weekend's first game against UNC.
According to FAMU head football coach Willie Simmons, it all centers around compliance issues ranging from academics to transfers.
Simmons said they have made a plea with the NCAA to appeal their circumstance.
"The responsibility ultimately falls on the student athlete, but without support, it is really, really hard to juggle all they have to juggle and still maintain satisfactory academic progress and still compete at the highest level. we are asking for a little bit of grace and mercy from the NCAA," Simmons said.
He said there are only seven offensive lineman that can travel, which is not enough to safely play a football game.
Players were supposed to be on the road to North Carolina earlier today but are en route to head to North Carolina.
Florida A&M University confirmed Friday afternoon that the football team will make the trip to Chapel Hill to play the University of North Carolina.
Game time is 8 p.m. Saturday.
BREAKING: From Florida A&M, it is official, this team IS traveling to North Carolina and will play tomorrow. @abc27— Alison Posey (@AlisonPosey14) August 26, 2022
According to the contract between Florida A&M University and the University of North Carolina, which was obtained by WTXL ABC 27 via a public records request, FAMU is guaranteed to receive $450,000 to play UNC.
Just spoke with Florida A&M head football coach Willie Simmons. There are twenty players that are ineligible, be it to academics or transfer eligibility.— Alison Posey (@AlisonPosey14) August 26, 2022
He said only seven offensive lineman that can travel - that’s not enough to safely play a football game. https://t.co/ix3AnfgvLH
Saturday morning, Florida A&M University president Larry Robinson released a statement through the university's public relations department about the situation:
"I am incredibly proud of our coaches, staff, volunteers, alumni, and friends who are here to support the courageous young men on our team who will compete to the best of their abilities in this contest. The Marching "100" Band is also here and will mesmerize the crowd in their typical fashion," Robinson said.
"I must commend our Rattler football team members for expressing their concerns about matters that my administrative team and support staff will handle more effectively. We have a responsibility to work together with our student-athletes, coaches, and staff to provide academic, health, safety, and other services needed for students' success at Florida A&M University.
We have a shared commitment to a culture of accountability and compliance, and as senior administrators and staff we must lead the way. I often brag about our students and their willingness over the years to engage in important matters of the public's good and of significance to their well-being. I am incredibly proud that these young men stepped up in the face of current challenges and expressed their concerns in that revered Rattler tradition.
The issues raised by these young men will get our full time and attention and will be prioritized by our recently established Athletics Support Committee, which includes administrators and staff from throughout the University community. These matters will be a standing agenda item at my weekly Senior Leadership Team meetings. We will see progress."