Florida A&M Football Players Say Deficiencies in Athletic Department Led to Team's Recent Eligibility Issues

The Florida A&M football players who sat out their opening game due to eligibility issues are calling out the athletic department over compliance concerns.

Florida A&M Rattlers

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Florida A&M Rattlers

Days after 26 Florida A&M football players were forced to sit out the school’s season opener due to ineligibility, the team is calling out university officials over compliance issues.

WTXL-TV reports the team on Monday sent a letter signed by 89 players to university president Dr. Larry Robinson. While laying out several problems they have with the university and its athletic staff, the team cites FAMU’s understaffed compliance department, which they claim “consists of one person, who has no subject matter expertise in athletic compliance.”

“It was very damaging to the morale of our football team to read on various media outlets,” the letter reads. “This narrative implies that we are not performing in the classroom. In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The issue at hand is not academic performance, but procedural issues within the registrar’s office, compliance department and academic advisement.”

The letter continues, “Currently, we have multiple players that have been deemed unable to participate in competition because simple tasks such as changing of majors, conferring of degrees and the submission of grades have not been completed promptly.”

The message comes after 26 FAMU players were ruled ineligible for its game against North Carolina last weekend. Read the full letter below. 

Among those who were ineligible was Isaiah Land, a major 2023 draft prospect. Head coach coach Willie Simmons told ESPN that Land was “misadvised” on his course load, which ultimately led to Land and another teammate being suspended for four games. Land is said to have felt “lost and confused” about Florida A&M following his suspension.

In light of the letter, Land and teammate Cameron Covin have retained attorney Tom Mars to file an appeal to reinstate their eligibility. Per WXTL-TV, Mars has already ordered the university to turn over documents “related to FAMU’s efforts to restory Land and Covin’s eligibility under NCAA bylaws.”

“What’s odd about the requirement that they sign a FERPA release form is that Isaiah and Cameron asked for the paperwork themselves so they could share it with me,” Mars told the news station. “There is no reason for them to sign FERPA release forms to obtain their own FAMU records, whether it’s their transcript or the waiver application that was sent to the NCAA.”

On Monday evening, FAMU issued a statement in response to the letter, which read, “We are confident that our processes are effective and timely. We will continue to monitor our efforts in this regards and to pursue all avenues to provide an excellent student experience to every athlete.”

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