By FRANK PASTOR and JAMAL THALJI
Published November 23, 2003
ORLANDO - After Bethune-Cookman closed to within three of Florida A&M late Saturday, the public address announcer might have spoken for both teams when he said, "You can't end this."
The immediate future of the biggest rivalry between historically black colleges is uncertain because of a disagreement between the schools and the Urban Broadcasting Company that kept Saturday's game from being televised.
Though the decision is in the hands of administrators, players and coaches from both teams said they want to see the rivalry continue.
"Personally, it's pretty competitive," FAMU coach Billy Joe said. "I'd love to see the game continue, but it's not my call.
Both athletic directors have said the continuation of the series is in doubt, and no contract for 2004 has been signed. FAMU moves fully to Division I-A next season.
"They should never dispose of this football game, and they should play it for the rest of our lives," B-CC coach Alvin Wyatt said. "It's a great atmosphere. I can't see anybody doing anything to make this go away."
IN YET?: B-CC's victory kept alive its chances for a second straight I-AA playoff appearance. It hopes for an at-large berth, which will be announced today.
"Right now, it's a great win," B-CC quarterback Allen Suber said. "We don't care what anybody thinks."
THE HAVE-NOTS: Wyatt has long complained that FAMU's resources dwarf his program's means. But Wyatt went one step further last week, declaring his 2002 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title squad shouldn't even be competing in its conference.
"B-CC has no business beating anyone in this conference," Wyatt said. "We don't have the resources that everybody else has in this conference. Everyone in our conference has a stadium on their campus, but we're the only ones who don't. If we can beat a team in this conference, that's saying something."
FAMILIAR FACES: Suber (Tampa Catholic), Richard Woodbury (Riverview), Kenny Heatly (Boca Ciega), Ricky Williams (Boca Ciega), Larry Woods (St. Petersburg Catholic), Coleman Haughbrook (Plant City), Terrance Cato (Brandon), Eric Reed (Pasco), Larry Crayton (Tampa Catholic) and Tampa native Cedric Edmonds play for B-CC.
Chris Buie of Armwood, Gudea Morris of St. Petersburg and Marcus Marion, Rafael Robinson and Kendrick Scott of Lakewood play for FAMU.
ALL-TIME HIGH: The attendance of 73,358 was the most in series history, eclipsing the 70,719 in 2000. It marked the fourth time the event drew more than 70,000.