Florida A&M University (FAMU) athletics has officially entered a new era.
The University held a historic press conference on Thursday morning at the Al Lawson Multipurpose Center as FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Commissioner Charles McClelland, Ph.D., and Vice President/Director of Athletics Kortne Gosha gave remarks as Florida A&M left its membership with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) after more than four decades.
“I want to acknowledge all those great institutions and friends we’ve developed over 41 years in the MEAC,” Robinson said. “It has been great, but it is now time to turn the page. We intend to be an active and successful participate by winning a lot of games.”
Since 1980, the Rattlers won more than 110 MEAC championships, including eight football titles.
Along with the Rattlers, FAMU’s biggest rival, Bethune-Cookman, also became members of the SWAC on Thursday. The two schools will compete in the SWAC’s East Division, along with Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Jackson State and Mississippi Valley State.
“Today is a significant day for the Southwestern Athletic Conference,” McClelland said. “It’s not often you get a brand as iconic ass Florida A&M University. Their fan base, the student-athletes, the performance, the history and the pageantry fit well in our footprint.”
With the move to the SWAC, FAMU is now one of the largest institutions, by enrollment, in the conference. The union is also an opportunity expand the SWAC’s impressive fan base with loyal and enthusiastic Rattlers. The academic, cultural, and financial benefits will be felt for generations to come, Gosha said.
“Greatness is here, and we are here to celebrate a great moment for this University,” Gosha said. “Today is a 100-year decision. We have chartered a new course and a new era for Florida A&M athletics and the future for Florida A&M University.”
Florida A&M will officially begin the new era in the SWAC on Sunday, Sept. 5 in the Orange Blossom Classic in Miami Gardens, Fla. against Jackson State.