Twelve years ago, FAMU had one of the best financially-managed athletic departments among all the nation’s historically black colleges and universities.
Ken Riley, who started serving as FAMU’s athletic director in 1994, left the department with an estimated surplus of more than $3M when he stepped down in 2002.
Roosevelt Wilson, who served as FAMU’s athletic director from 1980 to 1985, called attention to the following facts in an editorial he published in his Capital Outlook newspaper. It also ran in the December 8-December 14, 2004 edition of the Miami Times:
Financially, according to findings by the Florida Auditor General's Office: “The Athletic Department increased its operating budget by the anticipated $1.5 million revenue expected from the (UBC) contract. The Department's expenses, as of May 2004 for the 2003-04 fiscal year, exceeded revenues by approximately $3.45 million. After spending available reserves, this left a deficit of approximately $950,000. University plans to defer payment of the remaining commitments of the Department until the new budget year beginning July 1, 2004.”
Put another way, thanks to the frugal spending of former athletic director Ken Riley, when he left in December 2002 he left a surplus estimated to be more than $3 million. And going into the next fiscal year beginning July 1, 2003 the FAMU athletic department had approximately $2.5 million excess revenue in the bank.
By May 2004, the athletic department was not only broke, but $950,000 in debt. That has been compounded during the current fiscal year beginning July 1, 2004 because football-related revenues have fallen below estimates in virtually every game except the ones involving guarantees.
Riley, a former Rattler football star and cornerback for the cornerback for the Cincinnati Bengals, weighed in on the FAMU athletic department’s current challenges earlier this week. He said that the fundraising of FAMU President Frederick S. Humphries (1985-2001), winning football teams of Head Coach Billy Joe (1994-2004), and strong Marching 100 were all assets to the athletic department’s solid financial health.