FAU to lose $40,000 per year after cancelling Boca Bowl


29,103 people attended FAU’s first home game on Oct. 15. By the fourth home game on Nov. 26, that number dropped to 12,044. East and West Boca Tackle parents and coaches have said they’ll no longer attend FAU home games after the university cancelled the leagues’ Nov. 12 season-ending game. Photo by Abhi Saini.

Chris Persaud

Craig Angelos, University Athletic Director. Photo by Abhi Saini

Football games and stadium attendance are no longer the only things FAU is losing —  it has regressed to losing the money and support of Boca kids and their parents.

Managers of two local football leagues are accusing FAU’s athletic department of going back on a promise to let them use the new stadium for their championship game after kids and parents say they sold $9,000 worth of game tickets for the university’s team.

“We just felt, ‘Wow, we got used,’” said Ken Kron, vice president of East Boca Tackle football league.

They’re saying that after Athletic Director Craig Angelos solicited them to donate their time and money to promoting the football team in return for stadium time, he pulled the plug on the Nov. 12 game with three days’ notice.

Angelos said he pulled the plug on the verbal agreement because of the grass in the stadium — it needed some R & R after three home games.

“Nothing was set in stone. I deferred to [Assistant Athletic Director of Facilities] Mitch Silverman about it. He works with field maintenance.” The UP attempted to contact Silverman, but he hasn’t responded as of press time.

Kron disagrees.

“They had this [Boca Bowl] planned out months in advance,” Kron said, “These kids are 80 to 110 pounds. How much damage could they do [to the field]? Zero.”

The leagues — East and West Boca Tackle — agreed to the deal in September, and have since sold $9,000 worth of season tickets and donated hundreds of volunteer hours to promoting Owls’ merchandise, said the leagues’ owners.

Excitement grew in anticipation of the coming Boca Bowl, some 11-year-olds even chanted “FAU! FAU! FAU!” at the end of their local games, according to Glenn Remmler, vice president of  West Boca Tackle football league.

But after the cancellation, East Boca Tackle owner Rob Cannova told the UP he’ll no longer pay FAU $40,000 per year to host four Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournaments.

“If they can cancel the Boca Bowl at the last minute, who’s to say they couldn’t do the same for NAGA [North American Grappling Association]?”

He added that it cost East Boca Tackle $1,800 to rent West Boca High’s field for the Boca Bowl.

The Sun-Sentinel reported that Mark Wells, head coach for East Boca Tackle’s 11 years-and-under division, would stop encouraging his company to buy box-level seats for FAU’s football team.

29,103 people attended FAU’s first home game on Oct. 15. By the fourth home game on Nov. 26, that number dropped to 12,044. East and West Boca Tackle parents and coaches have said they’ll no longer attend FAU home games after the university cancelled the leagues’ Nov. 12 season-ending game. Photo by Abhi Saini.

“All year, both leagues have been promoting this and promoting FAU,” he told the paper. “I just think it’s the absolute wrong message to send to kids.”

According to Cannova and Remmler, both leagues’ players and parents sold 600 tickets total.

University Athletic Director Craig Angelos said he didn’t know about the lost support from the parents, coaches and kids, but said FAU will try to get it back. “We’ll diligently try to continue to engage these groups. I’d hope they’d want to stay involved.”

Kron noted his players’ reactions to being told the game was no longer at FAU’s stadium. “They just looked at each other like ‘Huh? What?’ I had to tell them it’s because of grown-ups. Grown-ups stepped in front of their dreams.”

Ken Kron, the owner of East Boca Tackle, a youth football league, is accusing Athletic Director Craig Angelos of foul play. On Nov. 12, East and West Boca Tackle were scheduled to play their championship game in FAU’s new football stadium. With three days’ notice, the game was cancelled. Kron alleges that it was cancelled because the Silver Dragons — the team Angelos’s son plays on — lost a game and the Athletic Director’s son would no longer play in the championship game.

Here are some facts:

League parents and players sold 600 FAU season tickets in return for stadium time. At $15 each, that’s $9,000 total.

East Boca Tackle owner Rob Cannova will no longer pay $40,000 a year to FAU to host grappling tournaments.

Some parents think Angelos cancelled the game because his son’s team, part of the West Boca league, didn’t make it to the big game.

“Angelos coaches one of the teams [the Silver Dragons], and the Teal Dragons beat them in the Super Bowl [the game before the Boca Bowl],” Jennifer Bonanno, a team parent said, “And me and some of the other parents think that’s why they pulled the plug. So far, I’ve gone to all the home games. I won’t no more.”

Kron added, “I bet if [Angelos’] kid had made the Super Bowl, he would’ve found a way to keep the game going.”

For his part, Angelos brushes off the allegations.

“That’s just totally untrue,” Angelos said in his defense, “It’s hurtful. I know it’s an easy target, but it really makes no sense. When Glenn [Remmler] inquired about [playing the Boca Bowl at the stadium], there was no way to tell who’d get to the Boca Bowl. I didn’t say, ‘Oh, by the way, since my son isn’t going to play, go ahead and pull the plug.”’

Remmler and Cannova also doubt Angelos cancelled because his team lost the Super Bowl.

“That’s absurd,” Cannova said, “Don’t go down that road. He really is for the kids.”

He added, “I was told the order came from Facilities. I really respect Angelos. I don’t think he’s the one who made the call.” CBS 12 reported that FAU’s “facility’s manager” [sic] made the call to cancel the game.

But, FAU Facilities Director Robert Richman told the UP in an email, “As far as I know, facilities [sic] had nothing to do with the decision.”

Angelos said his department made the call. “I would say it was our [Athletic’s] decision. I apologized profusely to Glenn [Remmler], and I asked him to pass that along the line.”

Angelos said Mitch Silverman, Assistant Athletic Director of Facilities, who works with field maintenance, told him the field needed to recover after FAU’s three home games.

West Boca Tackle Assistant Coach Mike Porter submitted video footage to CBS 12 of a player running down the field the day before the Boca Bowl. “The field is in pristine condition,” he told the TV station. I don’t think [the field’s condition] was the reason the game got cancelled,” Remmler added.

Despite all that’s happened, FAU is looking to make up for cancelling.

According to FAUOwlAccess.com, an independent FAU sports website, University President Mary Jane Saunders said, “We’ll do something for the kids.”

Angelos told the UP he’ll talk to Remmler and Cannova about what that involves. No date or time has yet been set.

“They were very supportive in buying season tickets to see a Division 1-A team in their backyards,” Angelos said about league players and parents. “That’s the last group in the world we want to alienate.”