FAMU’s athletic surplus should be more than a ‘feel-good moment’



By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook Staff Writer

Tommy Mitchell

There is something profound in the way Kelvin Lawson, chairman of FAMU’s Board of Trustees, responded to a recent financial report that shows the school’s athletic department having reason to rejoice.
“It’s a feel-good moment,” Lawson said, “but we can’t get too excited.”
Indeed not.
And if we want to know why sometimes we have to let the dust settle on good news, just look at what happened with the Black Television News Channel deal. Remember all of the pomp and circumstance a few months ago when the deal was announced to bring the network to FAMU’s campus.
Now we know that’s not happening. At least not on FAMU’s campus.
But what certainly is  happening now is that FAMU athletics is in the black with a surplus.
That opens the conversation to all sorts of possibilities. A new multi-use field house at Bragg Stadium that all students will use.
Of course, that’s not happening right in an instant. But with some extra cash in the kitty, that’s reason for optimism.
Cautiously, of course since plans for building the state-of-the-art facility is way into the future. And, that’s not being a pessimist. Those kinds of projects often take years to complete.
There is a chance this one will. There is a caveat, though.
Money has to keep coming. Alums have to keep giving.
Tommy Mitchell was chosen to lead that charge, as the new head of the boosters.
Don’t doubt that he could handle the job. He has a proven track record with the National Alumni Association. Plus, he’ll have state representative Ramon Alexander helping him reel in some of the deep pockets downtown.
Then, there is the rest of the plan for fund-raising. That will be essential to athletic director Milton Overton keeping a surplus.
The Tampa Classic, which will kick off this September and another classic game in Atlanta next year should bring in plenty of cash. FAMU has always been a part of similar games that raise big bucks for other schools.
Time for FAMU to cash in on its drawing power seems to be what Overton is saying. There’s a hunch he is right.