Senior guard Jerica Coley, last year's Sun Belt Student-Athlete of the Year, is one of 60 college basketball players of either gender to be named candidates for the Senior CLASS Award in basketball.
Eligibility goes to those who have achieved great things with work in the community, classroom, competition and demonstrated high character. CLASS stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for STaying in School.
Senior cornerback Sam Miller walked stiffly with a brace on his left leg after practice Wednesday. FIU coach Ron Turner said, as of now, Miller's 50-50 to go Saturday.
Talking with sophomore quarterback E.J. Hilliard after Wednesday's practice, we learned that Hilliard got nicknamed "Freeway" by current Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater when they were both at Northwestern High because Hilliard sported sideburns similar to Freeway Rick Ross. Hilliard also said another former Northwestern quarterback, former FIU wide receiver Wayne Times, nicknamed current FIU center Donald Senat "Hario." No reason was given.
The line on Saturday's game, which opened with FIU as 20-point underdogs, rose to 23 1/2 in some places, 24 in one. The over/under's down to 52.
They're doing some serious stacking out at Camp Mitch concerning this Saturday's game against East Carolina.
Not just the psychological stacking, whereby you "stack" stressful situation atop stressful situation until the ones on the bottom cause you ulcers or to yell at MickeyD's workers who put cheese when you clearly said sin queso. In adidution to that, the athletic deparment or marketing department or whatever department got called into the emergency meeting stacked promotion atop promotion to get a more-than-laughable crowd in the house Saturday against East Carolina.
And, if they don't, to paraphrase Richard Pryor's Mudbone character, there will be less laughing than at a funeral on Sunday, Christmas Day.
FBS schools must "average 15,000 in acutal or paid attendance for home football games over a rolling two-year period" according to last year's NCAA manual. FIU averaged 13,634 in 2012, according to the NCAA.
This year, the average official attendance is 14,966. The team is 1-6. The remaining home games are against East Carolina and Marshall, two nightmare guests: neither brings caravans of fans like an Ohio State or Dale Earnhardt Jr., they're non-entities to the casual fan while the cognescenti knows they're threats to blast FIU halfway to Naples.
Through Sept. 9, FIU claimed it had sold 10,045 season tickets. If true (ahem), they still need another 5,000 pay for tickets or show up. They certainly can't afford a rerun of Saturday when maybe, maybe 2,000 attended. The Four Letter People can be relied upon to overlook many things if you make them stacks of money. But FIU doesn't bring home the NCAA's bacon. So, the NCAA's a little quicker to fry FIU in the pan.
That's why FIU has stacked Military Appreciation Day (military personnel with ID or in uniform can get in free or with four other people) with FIU Faculty, Staff & Retiree Appreciation Night ($7 for a reserved seat, hot dog, bag of chips, 16-ounce drink) and FIU Football Free-4-All for students (each student automatically entered into a raffle for these prizes four scholarships, four textbook vouchers, four Panther Dining vouchers, four $100 gift cards to Cadillac Ranch, techonology vouchers for a 50-inch TV, an iPad, iPod Shuffle, iTunes gift card). Also, each student gets a free hot dog, drink, all that and a bag of chips.
Seem like a lot? Imagine what attendance probation or the ensuing drop from FBS would cost FIU in conference money. Or, matchup money from the big schools looking for an FBS team to beat up. Or, athletic department credibility.