AD Sykes appears to be untruthful with alumni about fate of 2024 OBC

da rattler

Tiffani-Dawn Sykes

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This year’s Orange Blossom Classic football game pitting FAMU against SWAC foe Jackson State could be the Rattler’s last for a while.  As it stands now, FAMU is turning down a $1.475 million, three-year offer from the OBC that would pay the Rattlers $450,000 in 2024, $500,000 in 2025, and $525,000 in 2026.    
When asked about the future of the OBC and why FAMU would turn down a $450,000 pay day, 
on a virtual meeting with members the FAMU National Alumni Association last night, AD Tiffani-Dawn Sykes told the group, rather emphatically, that “she had not seen $400,000 or $450,000 from the OBC.”  

However, Rattler Nation has obtained a copy of a February 17, 2023, email OBC officials sent to her with the subject line “Orange Blossom Classic Renewal Contract”.  The email appears to contain an attached copy of the draft contract.

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The draft contract was forwarded to us from an anonymous source at the university.  The draft offers to pay FAMU a $1.47 million guaranteed payout over three years.  The contract also made it clear that in addition to the payout, all travel expenses for the football team, band, and a specified number of people in the university's travel party would also be covered.

Why Ms. Sykes told alums that she had not seen these documents is baffling.  

OBC contract is better than USF deal
By comparison, FAMU is slated to travel to Tampa this year to take on the University of South Florida for a pay out of $465,000, which does not include travel expenses for the football team.  FAMU will pay an estimated $100,000 for the Marching 100 to travel to Tampa  when the Rattlers take on USF. The game contract with USF only provides $50,000 for the bands' travel.

Rattler fans have long bemoaned "guaranteed games" against FBS opponents.  The OBC game is different. It features FAMU against another FCS opponent.

The OBC returned in 2021 after a 43-year absence, and a hefty investment from the South Florida business community and local governments. The 2021 and 2022 games were nationally televised on ESPN2. 
Once again, this year’s game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL, will be nationally televised on ESPN.

In March, AD Sykes announced the Rattlers intention to renew a home and home rivalry with former MEAC foe South Carolina State.  The series will have the Bulldogs traveling to  Tallahassee on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2024 with the Rattlers traveling to Orangeburg on September 6, 2025.

The Rattlers are also scheduled to play at the University of Miami on September 7, 2024.

SC State favors moving game to Miami
Sources familiar with the situation have told us, that OBC officials have approached both FAMU and SC State about buying out the series and moving it to Miami.  Keisha Campbell, Acting AD at SC State, we are told is receptive to moving the series to Miami, as the game guarantee far exceeds the revenue they would generate at home.  

FAMU typically generates about $275,000 for an average home football game, outside of homecoming.  This year, FAMU is year slated to earn $375,000, plus travel expenses for its participation in the OBC.

A South Florida favorite
Since its revival, OBC has brought in more than $33 million to both Miami-Dade and Broward counties, supported more than 9,000 jobs, and its combined sponsor supporter network brought in $2 million in scholarships to academic institutions.

Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties is home to over 1.3 million Black Floridians and   is home to a large number of FAMU alumni and students.  The area is recruiting hot bed not only for athletic talent, but also a rich source of scholars.

The OBC was reestablished to enhance HBCU exposure in the Miami Gardens community. Annually, it attracts thousands of fans, alumni, students and family members. The overarching goal of the game is to raise scholarship funds for participating schools for years to come.


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  1. If both teams has bought in over 33 million then the payout should be larger than $450,000 per game.

    1. that $33 million is an estimated economic impact, how much yall spend in hotels, restaurants, liquor stores, night clubs and the like.... its NOT real money.

  2. Money is made at Bragg Stadium only!

    1. AGREE!!

      Real money...the universities should be given a minimum of $600,000 plus football team and band expenses.

    2. we had 15,000 show up for Southern game in Bragg last year, and 7,500 attendance for Alabama A&M last year in Bragg...

  3. And when yall want FOOD, yall rather leave the stadium and go out on Perry Street!

  4. I favor backing out on the deal. Both institutions should get more. We have to know our value. So push the envelope and get other offers or redo the contract

  5. Deion was right Hbcu schools settles for pocket change. NO DEAL.

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