BOT tables contract of men’s basketball coach amidst controversy

Photo Credit: HBCU Gameday

The approval of a three-year contract for Patrick Crarey II, the new head men’s basketball coach, will now be postponed. Trustees seek more information on allegations that Crarey improperly dismissed players last year and want to investigate his current volunteer employment agreement with the university.

News that the coach had dismissed all 16 members of the team spread on Sunday before Mondays’ 9 a.m. meeting, which caused an uproar within the FAMU community. Reverend Julius H. McAllister Jr., senior minister of Bethel AME Church in Tallahassee and father of dismissed player Colin McAllister, voiced his concerns in a detailed letter to FAMU President Larry Robinson dated June 23, which was obtained by Rattler Nation.

Rev. McAllister’s letter outlines the events leading up to the alleged dismissals, questioning the decision-making process and the adherence to the university’s values. The letter detailed that just nine days after Crarey’s appointment, the decision to release the team was communicated. The dismissals were conveyed over the phone to the players during their final exams, leading to considerable distress and potential academic consequences. Rev.McAllister also stated that the players were not given a chance to demonstrate their abilities to the new coach.

Rev. McAllister detailed multiple attempts to get in touch with Crarey, including a contentious meeting on June 3rd where the coach was accused of acting disrespectfully. The letter also questioned the legality and appropriateness of Crarey’s activities , considering that he had not yet formally joined the university’s staff or signed a contract before making these decisions.

During yesterday’s meeting, Athletic Director Tiffani-Dawn Sykes brought the contract to the board for approval, and was met with collective backlash from the group. Trustee Al Lawson asked Sykes to address multiple items after her initial proposal, including the alleged dismissal of the team, which Sykes debunked.

Sykes stated that all 16 of the team members had not been dismissed. She also explained that the the team was made up of 13 members on an athletic scholarship, and three members which were walk-ons; one of the walk–ons being Colin McAllister. Sykes did clarify, though, that the team was comprised of 19 members as of April 13, and that she advised the new coach to cut that down to 16.

It also was made known to the general body that this information was not given to them in advanced, which goes against the boards standard procedures when it comes to multi-year agreements. Trustee Deveron Gibson and Sykes went back and forth on the matter, creating a contentious atmosphere.

Trustee Otis Clatt commented that the discourse and miscommunication was a bad representation of the board.

“It’s a bit embarrassing for a board member to go toe to toe with an AD in a board meeting,” Clatt said. He also mentioned that there needs to be a better effort made in bringing things to the board.

Trustee Lawson followed up by stating that there was unreadiness in the motion to approve the coach’s contract, and that the clarification of salary and potential violations NCAA violations needs to be cleared before moving forward.

The board concurred, and this interim agreement is anticipated to remain effective until the board revisits the multi-year contract proposal during its August meeting.

The postponing of the coaches contract has put Athletic Director Tiffani-Dawn Sykes under fire, yet again. Sykes is currently facing scrutiny for allegedly not doing sufficient study before bringing on a new coach. Members of the board expressed a number of concerns and disappointments as a result of her neglect to bring up Crarey’s contract with them prior to the meeting.

Sykes has consistently been a liability for President Robinson’s administration by staying in the headlines for all the wrong reasons,” Rattler Nation stated, mentioning her alleged untruthfulness and her negative presence within the FAMU community.


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