FAMU finds money being improperly added to cover athletics budget

FAMU Snake Seal

Heads are rolling as FAMU attempts to correct a process of funds being improperly siphoned to cover its athletic budget.

The news out of Tallahassee hasn’t been good for FAMU in recent months and that trend has continued.

FAMU’s Chief Financial Officer Wanda Ford resigned last Friday. Her resignation, which was immediate, came days after it was announced the athletic department had a budget shortfall of $300k.

Two other employees, Ronica Mathis and Tiffany Holmes, were fired as a result of an investigation into improperly funneling money to athletics from auxiliary funds, a practice the FAMU Board of Governors has tried to stop in the past. A total of $8 million was illegally siphoned to the athletics budget over a number of years, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

Kelvin Lawson, FAMU’s Board of Trustee chairman, says that between $1.5 and $3 million of that has been paid since 2016. He said he was told that transfers to athletics were above board in meetings.

“There was still a system failure,” Lawson said. “We still had a break in our process.

Waiting for the ship to come in

“As of today, as far as expenditures and revenue, we are approximately $313,000 short,” Eason said the Tallahassee Democrat.  “The difference is in terms of what we projected to bring in, what we have so far and what we’re projected to spend.”

That $300k deficit must be recovered by the end of the fiscal year, which is June 30.

John Eason, FAMU’s AD, says the funds can be gathered by recovering outstanding income that the department is owed. The funds owed include money from the MEAC, the NCAA, the balance from the Florida Classic and royalty fees.

That deficit is actually less than last year’s according to Eason. The budget was set for about $10 million and adds up to about $8 million.

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