Florida Classic: 2 of Florida’s HBCUs gear up for their biggest football game of the year

ORLANDO, Fla. — It’s a game that draws thousands of people to Central Florida.


The FAMU Rattlers will face off against the Bethune-Cookman University Wildcats on Saturday.

For 45 years, the Florida A&M Rattlers and the B-CU Wildcats have met on the field for the Florida Classic.

For the last 25 years, the game has brought thousands of fans of both schools to Orlando. The rattlers have dominated the series for the most part, but Bethune-Cookman is looking to turn the page

Channel 9 sat down with B-CU athletic director and two-time NBA all-star Reggie Theus to discuss the game.

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“It’s not about the past,” he said. “It’s all about the future.”

Theus discussed the future he’s trying to build for the Wildcats.

“This program had no no on-campus field, no locker room, no equipment room, no laundry room for that matter,” he said.

Theus said he has a vision for the football program, which includes a sports complex.

“We used to spend almost $200,000 plus a year transporting our players back and forth to the stadium for practice, and also washing and keeping up with a gear,” he said. “100 years of football, and this is the first real on-campus facility that we’re putting together.”

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Theus said many have bought into the dream, including Charles Barkley, who donated $1 million to build a true sport complex.

Theus said the school needs $10 million to complete the project.

“These kids deserve an opportunity to play in facilities that are worthy of the conference that we’re in,” he said.

Leading the Wildcats on the field Saturday will be Raymond Woodie Jr., a former B-CU player.

FAMU has won the last two games, but Theus believes this is the beginning of a turnaround for B-CU.

“It becomes really about who wants it the most,” he said.

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