Gainous thinks fall 2004 move too soon

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida A&M president Fred Gainous has
recommended that the school's trustees delay their decision to move
the football program to Division I-A.

Gainous, who has been president of the school for 19 months,
plans to meet with trustees Monday about pulling back from an
announced plan to move up from I-AA this fall.

"The proposed move to Division I-A has the greatest potential
to threaten our capacity to carry out our great mission," he told
trustees in an e-mail obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat.

Gainous cited a desire to devote more financial resources to
academic programs. At least two trustees support Gainous' notion.

"It would be hard for me to see a situation where I would not
support his recommendation," trustee Randy Hanna said Sunday.
Added trustee R.B. Holmes: "I think it is a good idea to go to
Division I-A, but I think we need more time."

Holmes said he still thinks FAMU should move up to Division I-A
eventually, but not until the school's athletic facilities have
been upgraded and the financial support of boosters has been

Holmes also recommends that FAMU remain a member of the
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in all sports, including football.
He said the school should put together a master plan for the next
seven to 10 years before making another effort to move to Division

The decision to move up from Division I-AA cost football head
coach Billy Joe several Division I-A transfers last summer because
of newly toughened NCAA transfer rules.

The university has been under pressure from the Board of
Governors, which oversees all 11 of Florida's public universities,
for sloppy accounting practices. Gainous hired a new vice president
for finance less than two weeks ago.