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FAMU Looks To Close Athletics Deficit By Exerting More Control Over Events

Athletics Director Kellen Winslow

Florida A&M University’s new leader is laying out her priorities for the school. That includes focusing on boosting enrollment numbers, retaining students and increasing research. University officials say one way to grow FAMU’s numbers is by getting serious about athletics.

Sports matter. That’s the message FAMU’s athletics director Kellen Winslow delivered to FAMU’s board of trustees Wednesday as he explained the opportunities and challenges facing his department. The athletics program has run an annual deficit for years now, but Winslow says he’s working to make his department more efficient, and responsive to student needs:

“We now have a system for onboarding students that we didn’t have before. They get their books their housing and their class schedule all within a short period of time, and it’s checked off with all departments working together to benefit the student athletes.” 

Winslow wants to increase attendance at football and basketball games and streamline the ticking process. In the future he wants to find funding to revamp Bragg Stadium and the football team’s field house. He also says it’s time for the school to crack down on a lot of the vendors and activities that occur outside the games—like Perry Street, which becomes a vendor fair during ball games.

“Perry Street takes at least $100,000 away from the university every game. We have to find a way to bring tat under control so that we’re just not drawing a crowd and other people are taking advantage of it. It’s called giving away your product. We’ve got to stop giving away our product.” 

And that, he says, means no more freebies.

“We’ve got to stop giving stuff away. Part of our deficit is problem is we love the word ,'comp'. We love the word, 'hookup'. We’ve got to get rid of those words in our vocabulary. We really have to get rid of those…you can clap if you want to. Go ahead," he said.

Winslow says students are looking at facilities as a factor in determining where to go to school—even those who don’t participate in sports.