Stadium issue still unresolved

DAYTONA BEACH — Although practices start in a month and tickets are already on sale, Bethune-Cookman University’s football team still doesn’t have an agreement with the city to use Municipal Stadium this fall for games.

“We’re having frank discussions,” said Lynn Thompson, Bethune-Cookman’s athletic director. “At this point we’ve had a couple of meetings. We want to put this behind us.”

The city proposed a $3 per ticket surcharge, the same proposal that was rejected last year, and Bethune-Cookman said no again.

“We’re waiting for a response,” Thompson said. “We want a figure and a process that works for everybody.”

The city is going through the college’s counter proposal, which includes some creative ideas such as Bethune-Cookman officials and athletes volunteering at the new Midtown Cultural and Educational Center and putting on free football camps for kids. The city should have a reply soon and then another meeting should be held soon after that, Percy Williamson, the city’s leisure services director, said this week.

Click here for the full story.  http://www.news-journalonline.com/sports/college/2012/06/29/bethune-cookman-university-daytona-beach-at-odds-over-fees-for-municipal-stadium-games.html

Advertisements

BCU set to unveil redesigned Athletics website on Thursday, June 28th

Bethune-Cookman University will unveil its new look athletic website on tomorrow, Thursday, June 28th.  The new BCU Athletics site has undergone a comprehensive redesign offering visitors more ways than ever to connect with and experience BCU athletics.

The new site enhances features of the previous website, allows visitors to access information more efficiently, and introduces new content to provide a more well-rounded view of BCU’s sports teams, sports related events, its student-athletes and coaches. The redesigned website will also enhance the real-time gameday coverage and more seamlessly integrate BCU’s Catvision Network video portal.

Log on to BCU athletics beginning tomorrow, Thursday, June 28th to check out the revamped website for yourself.

Wildcats getting it done on and off the field

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bethune-Cookman Athletics has scored yet another pair of victories, academically, as the Wildcats have earned recognition both from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and from the Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association (FCS ADA) for academic progress in football and women’s golf, Director of Athletics Lynn W. Thompson announced Thursday.

 “National recognition of the academic success of our athletics programs is a product of a committed effort by our coaching staff, student-athletes and our Office of Student-Athlete Support,” Thompson said. “As we continue to build towards future success, the foundation for winning championships clearly begins with high caliber student-athletes who are mentored and motivated by a staff committed to academic excellence.”

 The Wildcat football program is set to receive the FCS ADA Academic Progress Rate (APR) Award for Most Improved Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) school after improving to an APR score of 935 during the 2010-11 school year.

 “It goes to show the effort of not only our coaches, but our academic advisors, and the commitment to education by our players,” said Head Football Coach Brian Jenkins. “Combined with our on-field success, it speaks volumes about the total effort of our program and how well-rounded it is becoming.”

 The APR Award recognizes one institution from all 14 FCS conferences with the highest conference APR score. Additionally, the FCS ADA recognizes one institution from each conference with the greatest improvement from the previous year. With a tie in the Ivy League, 29 total awards will be presented this year.

 In addition to the football honors, women’s golf earned an NCAA APR Public Recognition Award, posting a perfect APR score of 1000 during the 2010-11 season.

 

   

“It shows that they’re able to balance, and that they understand exactly what their title means as student-athletes,” said Head Golf Coach Loritz Clark. “It’s a great accomplishment because they were able to successfully balance the class work and work on the course, as we finished with a PGA Collegiate Minority National Championship as well.”

 The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) member colleges and universities adopted a comprehensive academic reform package designed to improve the academic success and graduation of all student-athletes. The centerpiece of the package is the academic measurement for teams, known as the APR.

 APR scores are a measure of classroom performance of student-athletes on every Division I team based on the eligibility and retention for each semester or quarter. NCAA awards are based on the multi-year APR scores from the 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years.

 The football award will be presented during the during the FCS ADA Luncheon sponsored by UPS, on Monday, June 25 in conjunction with the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Convention at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas.

 

Rashean Mathis receives banner honor

PORT ORANGE, Fla. – Rashean Mathis and his Jacksonville Jaguars teammates visited Port Orange Tuesday evening. The Jaguars graciously agreed to give B-CU stage time during which a stadium banner was unveiled honoring Mathis’ 2002 Buck Buchanan award winning season.   Mathis set an NCAA FCS Division record with 14 interceptions that year, lead the Wildcats to a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship, their first-ever FCS playoff appearance and their largest victory over Florida A&M in 27 years.  Mathis was presented a replica of the banner that will hang alongside Larry Little’s NFL Hall Of Fame banner at the entrance of Daytona Beach’s Municipal Stadium.

Click here for the full story.  http://www.b-cuathletics.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/060612aaa.html

Best HBCU Home Field Advantage–Rankings and Poll

Home field advantage is as much a part of college football as marching bands and drunken co-eds. LSU’s Tiger Stadium, University of Florida’s “Swamp”, Clemson’s “Death Valley” and Ohio State’s “Horseshoe” provide some of the more well-known home field advantages in all of sports.  But you don’t have to play in an 80,000 seat arena to enjoy the benefits of a home field.

There are a host of smaller venues, including some HBCU home sites, that have proven themselves very tough on opposing teams.  Granted, playing in front of your home crowd does not guarantee victory, but you have to like your chances if you play your home games in these friendly confines.

Here’s a look at the best home field advantages in the world of HBCU football.

Honorable Mention:

*** O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium is a charming, picturesque venue nestled on the grounds of North Carolina Central University.  But don’t get it twisted.  Playing in O’Kelly-Riddick is no walk in the park for the opposition.  In fact, the CIAA contingent that contributed to this poll thought so much of O’Kelly-Riddick that they lobbied vehemently for Central to be included in the Top 5 home field advantage ranking and not just an honorable mention selectee.

O’Kelly-Riddick’s greatest advantage comes from the closeness of the fans.  “They’re right on top of you and in your ear the whole game” one former CIAA player told me.  He went on to describe how one of his young teammates was harassed by a particular NCCU fan from pre-game warmups until the final whistle.  No wonder that “young buck” had his worse collegiate game that day.

*** Grambling State’s home games may not be as well attended as some of the other schools on this list, but the folks that congregate at Eddie Robinson Stadium on Saturday’s sure make their presence known.  Robinson Stadium is one of the largest FCS on-campus stadium in the country.  The Tigers have enjoyed 13 undefeated home seasons and a .758 winning percentage at Robinson Stadium since it opened in 1983.

The stadium is in the middle of nowhere which in itself creates a sense of isolationism for visiting squads.  Couple that with the lore of Grambling State football, the passion of their fans, and the quality of football the G-Men play and it’s pretty simple to see why playing at Robinson Stadium has proven to be such a difficult task for opponents.

*** If there were no extra weight given for recent success, North Carolina A&T’s Aggie Stadium would have made our Top 5.

A&T fans are amongst the most passionate and rabid in all of FCS athletics. The Blue Death Valley, Aggie Pride and of course the GHOE (Greatest Homecoming on Earth {sorry Howard}) all take up residence in Aggie Stadium.  Visiting teams can expect the unpredictable at Aggie Stadium.  Just a season ago, a very good Bethune-Cookman team suffered a horrible defeat at the hands of NCA&T and were held to a putrid 5 yards of rushing offense during the process.  It’s no coincidence that game was played in Aggie Stadium.

The Top 5

SU vs JSU at Mumford Stadium

#5—Southern University’s A. W. Mumford Stadium

Yeah I know SWACOs.  One could argue that Mumford is deserving of the #1 ranking.  But like A&T, Southern’s recent hard times resulted in Mumford falling a little lower in the rankings.

SU routinely ranks in the Top 25 in FCS home attendance and unlike some HBCU fans; Jaguar fans are active and loud from the zero quarter to the fifth quarter.  The Human Jukebox, the Dancing Dolls, 20,000 plus screaming Louisianans all make Mumford a special place to call home.

SCSU’s Oliver C. Dawson

#4—South Carolina State’s Oliver C. Dawson Stadium

South Carolina State’s Dawson Stadium is one of the best places to catch an HBCU football contest.  The fun starts outside of the stadium at the MEAC’s best tailgate party.  Inside the stadium, you will find one of the most knowledgeable and loyal group of fans in the HBCU world.

Bulldog fans know when to inject life into the stadium; and when they do Dawson produces a “roar” that is as good as any in FCS football.  Oh by the way, the Bulldogs are 19-3 at Dawson over the last 5 years.  Pretty good huh?

#3—Florida A&M’s Bragg Memorial Stadium

If you call a Rattler fan arrogant or obnoxious, you’re more likely to receive a thank you than a rebuttal.  They are a deeply loyal and passionate bunch who don’t seem to have an issue reminding us all of the rich history of FAMU athletics.   On game day they’re extremely boisterous and fully engaged. 

 The fans alone provide enough of a boost to give FAMU a great home field advantage.  When you add in the Florida humidity and a 400+ piece band that has its own cult following into the equation, Bragg Stadium becomes all the  more difficult to tame.

Mississippi’s Veterans Memorial Stadium

In 1997, Jackson State set an NCAA FCS attendance record when they averaged 38,873 fans at home games.  JSU fans don’t show up just to be seen either.  They are loud, rowdy, and very much a part of the game.

The Sonic Boom is a high intensity, “aggressive” band that amplifies the already hostile environment of Mississippi’s Veterans Memorial.

Between the lines, Jackson State owns a .780 winning percentage at Veterans Memorial.  Many teams cannot sustain that type of excellence for a 5 year period.  JSU has been doing it since they began playing their home games at Veterans Memorial in October of 1967.

The combination of diehard fans, an “in your face” band, and a football history that is steeped in tradition makes Veterans Memorial worthy of receiving the #2 spot in our ranking.

The Dust Bowl

#1—Tuskegee’s Abbott Stadium

Tuskegee’s Abbott Stadium -affectionately known as “The Dust Bowl”- is one of the most unique places to play football in the country.  Abbott (originally called Alumni Stadium) was constructed in 1924 and was the first of its kind to be erected on an HBCU campus.  To give you some perspective regarding just how much history Abbott Stadium has seen, many of the Tuskegee Airmen were still running around in diapers when the Golden Tigers played their first game at Abbott against Atlanta University.  But age isn’t Abbot’s only unique characteristic.

Abbott is one of the only stadiums in the country in which the tailgate occurs inside the stadium (on the hillside). There is also a seemingly out of place barn roof (referred to as “The Shed”) standing over the home-side stands. But when you consider the stadium has no lights and that all home games kickoff at 1:00 in the afternoon, it makes sense to offer fans some sort of protection from the Alabama sun.  Players on the field are afforded no such luxury.  Not only is the playing surface hot, but the stadium’s design inhibits air from circulating freely, hence the term “The Dust Bowl”.

Tuskegee has been an absolute beast on the field.  The Golden Tigers own 8 Black College Football National Championships, 28 SIAC Championships, as well as the title of “The Winningest Team in HBCU History” with 630 victories.  More recently, Head Coach Willie Slater boasts a 25-3 home record at Abbot Stadium.

Now that you know how we feel, tell us what you think.  Choose your Top 3 HBCU home field advantages.  The poll closes the week of July 4th.

Hail Wildcats

Wildcats dismissed from NCAA regionals

The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats were eliminated from the NCAA Baseball Championships on the heels of a big fifth inning for the College of Charleston.

The Wildcats scored 2 runs in the sixth but it was too little too late.  The Cougars scored 8 runs in the first 5 innings and held on for the 8-2 victory.