Parents of Bethune-Cookman Football Recruits speak out about Reed dismissal; protests continue
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Families from all over the country were converging at Bethune-Cookman University over the weekend. The group of recruits was there to meet with Ed Reed and hear his pitch to join the Wildcats.
The weekend started with a dinner hosted by Reed that all the recruits attended. One mother says by the end of it, the entire room felt like family. Less than 24 hours later that feeling was gone.
"It was kind of devastating," said parent Derrick Thompson. "I’m still at a loss for words with how everything transpired."
The group knew something was off when they walked into a room on campus where Reed was standing silently at a podium. Reed addressed the room of players, recruits and the hundreds on his Facebook live.
"I’m not withdrawing my name as they are saying. They don’t want me here," said Reed.
Kristyn Porch didn’t believe what was happening was real.
"Why is this happening? What is going on," she said. Porch scanned the room for her son.
"I can see this blank stare in his face like the life got sucked out of him," she said.
Just hours before, Kristyn and her son were ready to commit to Reed and BCU. Now she just doesn’t know what his future holds.
"He will ask, any update? Any update? Have you heard anything? I hate telling him no nothing yet. There still fighting the good fight," said Porch.
Reed’s impact sparked protests on campus over the condition of the facilities at the university. Students have been marching and holding sit-ins to carry on the message Reed helped bring to the forefront.
"Our protest is not centered around Ed Reed," said Sophomore Tyra Dunnaway. "Our protest is centered around preserving the legacy that Dr. Bethune left for us."
Students say they are tired of the dorm conditions they say have plagued the university for years. Recruits say they weren’t even shown the dorms which they thought was odd.
The students had hoped Reed could have built more than a football team but a better campus for all.
"He’s truly trying to build something great there that is bigger than football and the fact that he has made the impact that he has just three weeks with the folks that are there, I have not seen or heard of anything like that maybe in my lifetime," said Porch.
Earlier this week Bethune-Cookman’s interim President Lawrance Drake said in a statement that the school was moving on from Reed. They hope to announce a new head coach soon.