Excerpts from FoxSports:http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/story/winslow-rattles-florida-a-m-in-hopes-of-building-bright-future-for-athletics-072314
In June, Winslow put FAMU boosters on their heels, controversially proclaiming at a 220 Quarterback Club luncheon that the school’s athletic department was “broken,” telling the audience: “It can't be fixed. Tear it down, start over, build it the right way.”
“I don't think the program is broken to the point that it can't be fixed,” 220 Quarterback Club president Eddie Jackson told the Tallahassee Democrat after Winslow’s proclamation. “There is a foundation to build off of rather than tearing things down. I just think this is going way, way too fast. … I don't think we're moving down the right path. In terms of what he is doing, it's too much, too soon. Too many changes.”
Winslow has never been one to put too much stock in criticism, though, and has already made a few major moves, suspending the men’s tennis and golf programs, firing track coach Wayne Angel and football defensive line coach George Small and hiring Byron Samuels as the new men’s basketball coach, with more moves expected in the coming weeks and months at the recommendation of an advisory committee assembled to assess the current state of the program.
Winslow uses the hypothetical installation of artificial turf on the football field as an example of how an investment in athletics is also an investment in academics.
“(I have to) convince them that this is not just about 100 or 120 yards — if we put down FieldTurf, it’s not just about 100 yards of FieldTurf for five home football games,” Winslow said. “You put down FieldTurf, and I get a chance to start soccer. I reduce my costs of taking care of the field. When I start soccer, it gives me access to a different kind of athlete, because it’s played in different areas from a socioeconomic standpoint, from the quality-of-high-schools-they’re-attending standpoint.
“So in many ways I’ve improved my academic profile in the athletic department by starting soccer. (It’s) well documented, well proven. Now I’m also reaching a diverse audience compared to the audience we have now. That’s 35 men, 35 women, that’s 70 more students here at our school who are pretty sound academically, who are from diverse backgrounds — now I’ve taken the tentacles of FAMU, because I’ve put down FieldTurf and I’m playing soccer, and I’m in different markets.
“So facilities are where it starts. You have to be able to show young people that we have better facilities than you had in high school, and we can’t do that right now. I’m just being honest. And so it’s difficult to recruit the best of the best or get your share of that talent pool that you’re supposed to be getting. That’s where it all starts. If they walk into the locker room and they don’t go, ‘Wow,’ then you have a problem.
“By definition, nobody does first-generation better than FAMU,” he added. “It’s that nurturing, transformative environment that you’re in. It’s the ability to come to a school that has high academic standards and a classroom that’s small enough where you get the attention — where people can lay hands on you on a daily basis and say, ‘How are you? What’s going on? How are things at home?’ That’s the culture. We let it get away from us to become known as a ‘black university,’ but that’s so inaccurate, because by that definition, there should also be ‘white universities.’ … Our forefathers did not get this one right. They screwed it up for us, and we’re still trying to fix it.
“It has to be strategic,” Winslow said. “When we go into Columbus, we accept a game to play Ohio State, you say, ‘Yeah, they paid us $900,000,’ which we probably netted $650,000 or $625,000 after expenses for that. So you do that calculation and then you sit down and go, ‘OK, so what’s the other value?’
“Yes, we were on television, but did your brand get an uptick, or — if you watch the Colbert Report — did we get the ‘Colbert Bump’? No, we didn’t, because we’re playing a superior football team, simply because of the number of scholarships, size of athletes, training, nutrition, coaching, weightlifting, etcetera. If we played a game where we were competitive, or even won, we get the Colbert Bump, but if we don’t show well, we take all the negative branding that comes with that, and we have to find a way to fix it, and that costs you money.”