Monday, December 7, 2009

FAU Wins at "Work In Progress Stadium"


FAU may have won its Finale.

But this was also a contest for myself and my other FAU media colleagues who visited FIU Stadium for the first time; which was quite an experience.

I used to think that Lockhart Stadium's press facilities were below NCAA Football standards.

But that was before I went to Miami and saw "Work In Progress Stadium."

In my 30-year journalism career, I've never seen a press facility have a clear plastic canvas lowered to prevent rain from coming inside. The winds were blowing down the tables and the floor had to be mopped periodically. There was a story by one of the FIU Public Relations people that the side wall fell in the fourth quarter during the FIU vs Troy game, and it would later be bolted to the top of the sheet metal roof.

So while last years FAU vs FIU "Shula Bowl" at Dolphin Stadium was the best college game I've ever seen with the Owls winning 57-50 in overtime; this year's FAU 28-21 triumph could be viewed as the best contests I've barely seen.

Sitting in the second row, the FIU spotter was right in front of me and I couldn't see the game. I kept getting up and walking around the press facility and occasionally outside on a windy, rainy night to watch the action.

The smartest people were FAU Sports Information Director Katrina McCormack and her assistant Dawn Elston, who spent the game on the Owls sidelines therefore avoiding the chaos.

A few of the beat writers were saying when we arrived, "You've got to be kidding me." One of the writers used his Twitter account and sent tweets to his followers telling them how bad the press area was.

I wanted to go to the sidelines at the start of the third quarter but the FIU PR Staff wouldn't take me down there until the six minute mark of the fourth quarter.

I didn't care about the weather conditions because being from the Midwest, the Metro Detroit area is hardly known for its good weather, therefore holding a clipboard and taking notes wouldn't have been a problem. But at least I would have seen the entire football game.

But with all due respect, my comments are by no means a criticism of the FIU Public Relations Staff.

Their hospitality was great!

Their stories of their candid experiences were better. They just work here and I will admit that after visiting the FIU campus for the first time, it's a nice place.

But FIU should use the $100,000 plus salary that Mens Basketball Coach Isiah Thomas decided not to take and enclose what they have temporarily until the new Press Box is completed. We all know that major college football is the biggest revenue producing sport. What they have is disgusting! On the other side, the radio guys have the same set-up.

The Sun Belt Conference should step in and get FIU to do something.

When "Work In Progress Stadium" is completed, it will be something to be proud of. They have new Field Turf and I see where the room is for the potential expansion. The last thing FIU needs is the Media blasting them and giving them negative publicity by not giving us respectable working conditions to promote their events for free.

But I will say, this is a day that I'll never forget and it will make a great story for a future book let alone the fact it will make a great conversation piece whenever this experience ever comes up.

You can see a photo of this press area on

Scott Morganroth can be reached at

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