Florida A&M college football to play season opener at North Carolina despite missing 20 players due to eligibility issues

Florida A&M will be left with no 20 ineligible players and just seven available offensive players when it plays in North Carolina on Saturday night, the school said Friday.

In a statement, Rattlers coach Willie Simmons said the team initially decided not to play after learning Thursday night that seven offensive linemen were deemed ineligible to play. With three other nursing injuries, the Rattlers only have seven healthy offensive players.

But after further discussion on Friday, the team finally decided to play the game and was scheduled to board a flight from Florida to North Carolina for the season opener for both teams (8:15 p.m., ACC Network).

“Players were not comfortable playing under these conditions and they are all understandably frustrated with many of our internal processes in the certification process so they chose not to play,” Simmons said. “After a few more discussions with the university leadership, including the president of the university, the players finally decided to play the game. I support these young men 100% in their decision and I am very proud of them for standing up for themselves! “

Florida A&M is set to receive a $450,000 guarantee for playing the game, which is part of a celebration of historically black colleges and universities on the UNC campus this week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/34464638/florida-expects-play-season-opener-north-carolina-eligibility-issues Florida A&M college football to play season opener at North Carolina despite missing 20 players due to eligibility issues

Emma Bowman

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