Lawrence Wright -- the former Univ. of Florida football star who created the famous "Gator Bait" chant -- is urging school officials to reconsider the cheer's ban ... telling TMZ Sports it's not racist.
Back after the 1996 season, fresh off a national championship, Wright ingrained the chant in Gator fans' minds during a celebration ... and at nearly every UF event since, it had become a staple.
But, in a statement released by the school last week ... the University president said there will now be a ban on the chant over its racist ties -- effective immediately.
As for why ... if you're unfamiliar, the term "Gator Bait" was coined by white men who would take Black babies and use them as "bait" to draw out alligators on hunting expeditions. Horrible.
"Gator bait" was later used as a racial slur toward Black people for that reason.
In his statement, the school's president wrote, "there is horrific historic racist imagery associated with the phrase."
When we spoke with Wright about it all ... he told us he disagrees with the university's decision -- and is now trying to have a sitdown with the president to attempt to change his mind.
Wright says even though he's aware of the awful images associated with the "gator bait" term ... he claims his chant has absolutely nothing to do with that at all.
"We're only talking about collegiate things," Wright said.
Wright added he wishes school officials had approached him about the subject before making the call ... and he tells us he's ready for a meeting on the issue ASAP.