The Golden Panthers (19-14, 6-6) open up a three-game home series against the Privateers (10-22, 2-13) Friday night at 7 p.m. Going to try my hand at live blogging for the first time, so check back just a few minutes before first pitch.
Also, wanted to let you all know that once I get into a routine, I'll do a regular Q&A, if you all have interest. It'll be weekly during the football season and twice a month the rest of the year. To submit questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That being said, I've heard a lot of feedback about the fee story that ran about a month back. Let's set the record straight on a few things. First off, an editor and I came up with the story idea as a way to localize a USA Today piece on the widespread use of athletic fees to prop up low-revenue programs. What the data showed was that FIU not only was part of the trend, but it the most reliant on said subsidies, even compared to similar schools. Furthermore, we learned that the athletic budget has increased by more than 50 percent over the previous five years, even though the school as a whole went through significant cuts to academic programs and staff. So yes, it isn't a new phenomenon that fee money was going to the program, but the last we wrote about the issue was during the boom years. We felt that some present-day perspective was needed. Last point: the story was written back in February, before I was moved to the FIU beat, but held because of space issues in the Sunday paper. I understand the timing of when it ran might seem more than coincidental, but I assure you all it was not.