TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Florida A&M Rattlers are the newest members of the Southwestern Athletic Conference as Thursday, FAMUs Board of Trustees unanimous decision to leave the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference was met with unanimous approval to join the SWAC from their 10 member schools.
FAMU will officially become a member of the SWAC on July 1, 2021 and their first season of competition will be for the 2021-2022 school year.
FAMU athletic director Kortne Gosha said he feels the decision is "transformational" for FAMU athletics. He said he knew the decision would be scrutinized, but for financial reasons it's the right thing for the University moving forward.
"Imagine buying 30, 40 plane tickets from Tallahassee to Dover, Delaware for a basketball game," said Gosha. "That's an expensive venture. Quite frankly, we were doing that for 16 Varsity programs. Really, 15 plus chartering a flight for football. With a lot of the departmental funding cuts and long history of budget issues, that's the first thing we had to roll our sleeves and look into."
Gosha said the move is truly in the University's best interest. They'll save $400,000 a year just in travel by switching conferences.
Other perks? The SWAC plays in Divisions, so they'll be a true conference champ.
Gosha said with the saving of money and playing more regional teams the Marching 100 may get to travel to away games.
The best part fans? Don't worry, Gosha is confident the Classic isn't going anywhere.
"We have opportunities to schedule non-conference games," said Gosha. "It'll be a mainstay. We don't anticipate the Florida Classic going anywhere. Any opportunity we get to beat up on Bethune-Cookman, we're going to take advantage of that."
Gosha also provided an update on homecoming. He's confident there will be a game, but things could be different with the fanfare surrounding homecoming.
Gosha said by the end of June a small population of athletes will be back on campus. He added to be sure to buy game tickets now, he expects there to be limited capacity. They don't know to what limit just yet.