Tuesday, June 28, 2016

5 things we learned from scouting Tampa's satellite camps

Alex Wood, head football coach for Florida A&M University (FAMU), organizes high school football players into groups on Friday (6/17/16) at the Alex Wood Football Camp, a satellite football camp, hosted at Skyway Park in Tampa. Satellite camps have been a hot topic in recent months after the NCAA Division I Legislative Council voted against college coaches from serving as guest instructors at satellite camps in April, 2016. But the NCAA Board of Directors overturned the ruling a few weeks later.

TAMPA, Florida — After becoming the most scrutinized subject of college football's offseason, satellite camps made their first major splash across Tampa Bay this month.

More than 1,100 high school players worked out in front of representatives from 40-plus colleges over a 16-day stretch. At least seven Division I-A head coaches attended the instructional camps away from their campuses.

Despite the criticism from Alabama's Nick Saban and initial skepticism from the NCAA, the camps went off with seemingly no major incidents or drama.

"No, the sky hasn't fallen," Tampa Catholic coach Mike Gregory said after his Crusaders hosted Florida International's camp June 19.

Maybe not. But after attending all four major camps in the area, the Tampa Bay Times came away with five lessons in a controversy that will likely continue to be dissected next spring.


Local Principal, FAMU Alum's Acapella National Anthem At Lincoln Memorial Goes Viral

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- It's not exactly Marian Anderson singing in front of the Lincoln Memorial. But Star Swain's rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner at the national landmark was the sort of life-changing performance few who've heard it will soon forget.

Swain, a former Florida A&M Marching 100 trombonist and vocalist, has been thrust into the digital national spotlight after an impromptu a capella rendition of the National Anthem has gone viral, being viewed by millions on Facebook and other social media.

Swain, 34, said she and her family were in Washington, D.C., on vacation two weeks ago with Marcus Henderson, minister of music at her church, and his family, along with Godby High assistant principal Benny Bolden and his family.

They were inside the Lincoln Memorial, when and Henderson started talking about the superior acoustics inside the landmark.

“I said, ‘I could break out and start singing The Star-Spangled Banner,'" Swain recalled Monday. That was enough to get Henderson and Bolden to start urging her on.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Kenneth Jones steps down after 30 years as the ‘Voice of Bragg’

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Kenneth Jones has seen every Florida A&M football game played at Bragg Memorial Stadium over the last 30 years, and he’s never had to buy a ticket.

In fact, he came as part of the package when someone bought a ticket to see the Rattlers play. A football game, a performance from the “Marching 100” band, and commentary from Jones – it was all part of the Bragg experience on Saturdays.

It’s going to be a little weird this year. For the first time in three decades years, Jones will be sitting in the stands with his family when the Rattlers take the field at Bragg. The only people who will be able to hear him will be the ones sitting close to him, and they might not get the commentary they’re used to.

Jones, finally, is taking the chance to relax and be a fan of a team he loves. The 54-year-old associate professor of journalism at FAMU stepped down after the 2015 season as FAMU’s “Voice of Bragg,” saying he wished to spend some more time with his family.

“My mother is going to be down there with me,” Jones said with a smile.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Southern University’s ‘Human Jukebox’ band to perform in battle of the bands competition in Charlotte, N.C.

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana -- The Jaguar Nation’s prestigious marching band will be displaying its talents at the annual McDonald’s Queen City Battle of the Bands, to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina’s Memorial Stadium, on August 27.

Webber Marketing sponsors the annual event, which they say was created to support the creativity, showmanship, and commitment it takes to be a part of a historically black college and university (HBCU) marching band. The company has donated more than $160,000 in scholarships to participating schools over the last three years.

Derek Webber, president/CEO of Webber Marketing, says, “At Webber Marketing we are committed to enhancing the exposure of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The McDonald’s Queen City Battle of the Bands event highlights the community’s exclusive interest in HBCU marching bands and the roles that they play in educating aspiring musicians and developing our future leaders.”

The SU marching band will receive a $10,000 scholarship donation, in addition to travel and lodging expenses, for participating in the battle of the bands event.

“The SU band has performed in more Super Bowls than any other band in the country. We’ve performed on many national and international stages, but now is the time to bring the talents and passion of our band to the Queen City. We are looking forward to it,” says Nathan Haymer, SU band director.

The “Human Jukebox” band will begin practicing in early August, and they will be hosting numerous events before their performance in order to prepare for the opportunity.

“Southern University is excited to support our world-renowned band for an inaugural presentation at the McDonald’s Queen City Battle of the Bands. The growing excitement of the Human Jukebox 2016-17 season is extremely high. The best is yet to come,” says M. Christopher Brown, executive vice president and provost of SU.


Prairie View A&M University to unveil $60M football stadium and sports complex in Sept. 2016

Date: SUNDAY, SEPT. 4, 2016, 5:30 PM
Location: PVAMU, Texas

PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas -- Prairie View A&M University's Blackshear Stadium was in rough shape for as long as Roy Perry can remember.

The wooden benches he sat on as an engineering student in 1978 to watch Panthers football games had not changed much from when the team was in its heyday and won five black college titles between 1953-1964. Perry graduated in 1978 dreaming improvements would someday be made, but after an historic 80-game losing streak from 1989-1998, they never came.

Even when the Panthers program broke the skid of losing seasons in 2007, won a Southwestern Athletic Conference championship in 2009 and made sweeping building improvements campuswide, some fans had to watch games played on a field in disrepair from behind a perimeter fence because the 6,000-seat stadium was at capacity. Perry said Blackshear's appearance never meshed well with the overall beauty of the campus.

"It wasn't much of anything," Perry said. "Kids played in better stadiums at their high schools."

Perry, who now serves as chairman of the Prairie View A&M Foundation, said he watched with joy on Jan. 23 as the tiny stadium was demolished with a few swings of an excavator arm.

With Blackshear gone, the university will finally get what Perry felt the school deserved more than 30 years ago in a $60 million, 15,000-seat football stadium and sports complex, which will open for its first game in September 2016.

The movement to build a new stadium gained momentum in 2009 after Perry and other alumni helped raise $30 million to start the Prairie View A&M Foundation. Shortly after, Prairie View A&M President George Wright said, Perry started beating the drum to raise funds for a new stadium, and the Texas A&M System Board of regents responded.


Fayetteville State Football Schedule Set for the 2016 Season

FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina - The Fayetteville State University Department of Athletics has announced the 2016 football schedule. This year's schedule features five games on the road and five at home to include hosting a televised game to be broadcast on ASPiRE TV Network for the regular season conclusion against divisional rival and defending CIAA champions Winston-Salem State University on November 5th at 2:00 p.m.


September 3rd (6:00 PM) vs. Chowan – 1000 BRONCOS Appreciation

September 24th (6:00 PM) vs. Virginia Union – Military Appreciation

October 15th (1:00 PM) vs. Johnson C. Smith – “Ball in Pink”

October 29th (1:30 PM) vs. Livingstone – HOMECOMING

November 5th (2:00 PM) vs. Winston-Salem State – Televised Game by Urban Sports and Entertainment


September 10th (7:00 PM) at UNC Pembroke – Two Rivers Classic

September 17th (6:00 PM) at Elon

October 1st (6:00 PM) at Bowie State

October 8th (1:00 PM) at Shaw

October 22nd (1:00 PM) at Saint Augustine’s

Last season, the Broncos finished third in the CIAA Southern Division at 4-6 overall and 4-3 in the CIAA.

FSU will kick off the 2016 season at home on Saturday, September 3rd in a non-conference contest versus Chowan University at 6:00 p.m. inside Luther “Nick” Jeralds Stadium. In the following week, the Broncos will travel to Pembroke, NC for the annual "Two Rivers Classic" against UNC Pembroke on September 10th. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Grace P. Johnson Stadium for the “Two Rivers Classic.”

Fayetteville State will remain on the road for their third contest of the season against Division I Elon University out of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). Elon finished the 2015 season with a 4-7 overall record, including losses to Wake Forest and North Carolina A&T State.

FSU will return home to begin CIAA cross-divisional play versus Virginia Union University on September 24th. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. at Jeralds Stadium.

The Broncos will begin the month of October on the road against Northern Division champions Bowie State University. Fayetteville State will clash with BSU on October 1st inside Bulldogs Stadium in Bowie, MD at 6:00 p.m. This will be the first matchup against Bowie State since the 2010 season.

The quest for the CIAA Southern Division crown begins on October 8th against Shaw University. Fayetteville State will travel to Durham County Memorial Stadium for a 1:00 p.m. divisional showdown with the Bears.

The Broncos annual “Ball in Pink” game to awareness about breast cancer and preventive measures will take place on October 15th against Johnson C. Smith University. Game time is slated for 1:00 p.m. in Jeralds Stadium; fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of the initiative.

As the season progresses, Fayetteville State returns to the Raleigh-Durham area to matchup against Saint Augustine’s University on October 22nd. Game time is slated for 1:00 p.m. although stadium location has yet to be determined.

The 2016 FSU Homecoming is scheduled for October 29th at 1:30 p.m. against Livingstone College.

Fayetteville State will close out the regular season with a nationally televised contest at home on November 5th against the defending CIAA champion Winston-Salem State University. In their 2015 matchup, the Rams closed out the regular season with a two-point victory over the Broncos. The FSU football program has since taken new leadership with head coach Richard Hayes, Jr., former WSSU defensive coordinator. Game time is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at Luther “Nick” Jeralds Stadium.

The conference schedule will conclude with a television broadcast of the 2016 CIAA Football Championship on November 12, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. The Northern Division and Southern Division Champions will faceoff for the title at Durham County Memorial Stadium in Durham, NC. The championship contest will air live on ASPiRE.

CIAA Regional Television Network is produced by Urban Sports & Entertainment Group.


FVSU President Accepts Resignation of Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Dr. Joshua Murfree

Dr. Joshua Murfree
FORT VALLEY, Georgia (June 24)
-- Today President Paul Jones accepted the resignation of Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Joshua Murfree.

"We are most appreciative of his accomplishments and loyalty to the institution and department during his tenure, and his upbeat personality and positive attitude will be missed," Jones said.

"Moving forward, we look to not only build upon the strong athletic success the teams have had in competition over the past few years, but also to placing major emphasis on compliance and fundraising," he said. "It is vital to Fort Valley State's infrastructure that our student athletes not only win on the field, in the classroom and in life after athletics, but also that we attract funding for scholarships that support our students in their academic degree pursuit(s)."

The university will name an acting athletics director within the next few days and will immediately begin a search for a permanent replacement as well. Dr. Murfree will remain at the institution until the end of July to assist with the transition.

Please join us in thanking Dr. Murfree and wishing him well in all of his future endeavors.