NCAAF: Eligibility issues nearly led Florida A&M to back out vs. North Carolina

Florida A&M decided to travel for Saturday’s game at North Carolina after initially considering backing out of the game due to a slew of ineligible players.

The Rattlers decided Friday afternoon to make the trip, ABC27 in Tallahassee reported. The station displayed video of the team boarding a bus for the trip to the airport at around 3:40 p.m. ET.

The decision came after coach Willie Simmons reportedly left it up to the players to choose whether or not to play.

Florida A&M is slated to receive $450,000 for playing in the contest at Chapel Hill, N.C. It is billed as the HBCU Celebration Game with the Rattlers being among the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Simmons told ABC27 that there 20 ineligible players in the program due to academics or eligibility after transferring. Simmons said the team has just seven eligible offensive linemen.

ABC27 reported that FAMU has just one academic advisor in the athletic department.

“The responsibility ultimately falls on the student athlete, but without support, it is really, really hard to juggle all they have to juggle and still maintain satisfactory academic progress and still compete at the highest level,” Simmons told the station.

Florida A&M went 9-3 last season and lost to Southeastern Louisiana 38-14 in the first round of the FCS playoffs.

North Carolina went 6-7 last season.

–Field Level Media

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