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A&M moves a step closer to history

Posted: Monday July 21, 2003 8:37 PM
Updated: Monday July 21, 2003 8:37 PM

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The NCAA has approved Florida A&M's application to move its football program to Division I-A and the historically black university could be playing at college football's highest level by 2004.

No other historically black college is in Division I-A.

"This is a great day for Florida A&M athletics and the university," interim athletic director J.R.E. Lee III said Monday. "The NCAA's decision will allow us to move full speed ahead with our plans to take not only football, but the total athletic program to the highest level."

Florida A&M, which submitted its application to move up from Division I-AA in June, had been in Division I-AA since the classification was created in 1978. That year, the Rattlers won that level's first football national championship.

The school's move makes the Rattlers ineligible for the 2003 Division I-AA playoffs and the 2003 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference football title.

The status of Florida A&M's other sports will be decided by the MEAC Council of Presidents.

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