Work begins on softball shade structure

Construction has begun on a new shade structure at Florida State’s softball field.

The $1.6 million shade structure is almost fully funded as all but $70,000 has been raised for the project, said Deputy Athletics Director for Administration Cindy Hartmann. 

“Lonni is an active fundraiser,” Hartmann said at Wednesday’s athletics board meeting.

A chain-link fence has gone up along parts of the concourse and the first-base seats this week.

Softball fans will be shaded from the sun in time for FSU’s opening day in February. And as the weather heats up in May and June, fans will be helped by the installation of Big Ass Fans (yes, the same company that made the fans at Dick Howser Stadium).

ACC Network update

FSU athletics director David Coburn said distribution is well beyond 40 million households and will rise when a deal with AT&T/DirecTV is reached to include AT&T UVerse as well as the company’s live streaming service, AT&TNow.

Negotiations with Comcast, which provides service in Tallahassee and in many large cities around Florida, have not progressed. “We’re at a brick wall with Comcast,” Coburn said. 

Disney’s contracts with ESPN don’t expire for two more years and “there is not a lot of leverage,” Coburn said. Comcast has historically had prolonged holdouts with other league-affiliated channels, including the Big Ten Network.

Coburn had previously stated that he conservatively budgeted $3 million in additional revenue from the ACC Network in FSU’s 2019-20 athletics budget. Revenue is expected to jump in future years and would of course rise when Comcast comes on board.

APR improvement in football

There is optimism that the football team’s APR results will gradually improve. In August, Taggart stated that 34 players had a 3.0 GPA or higher in the summer semester, which followed a successful spring semester. Taggart also meets with academic staff weekly to keep lines of communication open.

Administrators are also encouraging former players in football, basketball and other sports who depart school early but don’t earn a degree to complete their coursework. A number of athletes are taking classes online as they work toward their diplomas. Former FSU football player Bobby Jackson, who played at FSU in the 1970s, graduated in August.

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