Daily Archives: August 30, 2015

Big men on campus

UWF football players donned the team's helmet design at Tuesday's practice. Though not advertised as open to the public, curious students and Pensacola residents lined the edge of the practice field. Tuesday marked the sixth day in a row the team had practiced. Photo by Jason Dustin

UWF football players donned the team’s helmet design at Tuesday’s practice. Though not advertised as open to the public, curious students and Pensacola residents lined the edge of the practice field. Tuesday marked the sixth day in a row the team had practiced. Photo by Jason Dustin

Jason Dustin

Staff Writer

Necks are thicker, biceps fuller and shoulders more broad than ever this fall on the University of West Florida’s Pensacola campus.

Argonauts football head coach Pete Shinnick’s planning and work – 18 months’ worth – have manifested into a 106-man roster one year away from its first game.

“We’re installing just like we’re playing games,” Shinnick said. “The same as if we were playing a schedule.”

A roster is in place, but not static. Shinnick and his staff are holding the team’s second round of open tryouts this Thursday, Sept. 3.

“It could be interesting,” Shinnick said. “We’ve had a lot of people say that they’re interested.

“If somebody is better than what we have, then we’re going to add them – that’s the bottom line. If they’re the same we’re not going to add them. They’ve got to be better than what we have. If we find 15 we’ll take 15. If we find zero we’ll take zero.”

Four players, including local products Tyrone Jones, Stetson Nash and Jamie Smith, made the team following the first tryout.

As Shinnick spoke, players passed by the open door of the Field House office in which he sat, having completed a day of lifting weights.  It was an off-day, of sorts, following six consecutive days of practice. The mindset is improvement, not coasting.

“We’re lifting to get stronger, we’re lifting to build bodies up,” Shinnick said.

The buildup includes five scrimmages between the Argos’ offensive and defensive units, this fall.  All scrimmages will be open to the public, according to UWF’s athletics department website. The first will be held Saturday, Sept. 12, beginning at 11 a.m. This fall’s schedule is highlighted by the team’s first-ever appearance at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium, on Oct. 17.

Also in place are the team’s uniforms, supplied by Nike and designed by Argo offensive coordinator Jammie Deese, Schinnick said.

In motion is the construction of the team’s eventual home field, which will be to the west of the aquatic center. The initial design will consist of a synthetic-turf playing surface, flanked by two grass-covered berms for spectators.

“Plans for a stadium are obviously down the road,” Missy Nicholson, UWF Facilities Planning and Construction project manager, said. “It’s pending funding.”

To date, the squad is representative of UWF’s commitment to being a regional university. Of the 106 players, 88 are from Florida high schools and 13 played prep football in Alabama. Twenty-one members of Shinnick’s team are transfer student-athletes.

Parking woes- How not to get a parking ticket


View of Parking Lot H in front of the Commons.    Photo by Emily Doyle

Emily Doyle

Staff Writer

“A university is a diverse community held together by common complaints about parking,” said Clark Kerr, former chancellor of the University of California.

Incoming students, don’t lose hope! The University of West Florida Parking and Transportation department is aware of the problematic parking and is working diligently to provide solutions and safety for all on campus.

Though parking at times can be inconvenient, Parking and Transportation Services Director John “Chip” Chism assures that there is enough parking for all students, even if it is not the closest to your destination. Parking services has added an additional trolley to the Fall 2015 Trolley Schedule to provide timely shuttle service to students who may need to park in the remote lots on campus. With the TransLoc Transit Visualization app, students can track trolley locations for pickup and drop off.

“Never park in an area not designated for you. You will get a ticket,” said UWF senior Brittnee Brock. “Make sure to always get to campus early so if there isn’t a parking spot where you wish there would be, you can make time to park farther and walk.”  Brock also is curious about why the new football stadium is being built before a much needed parking garage.

When asked about funding for Parking Services, Chism replied that all funding comes directly from parking permits and ticketing. This clarifies that the new football stadium is not taking money away from Parking Services funding. Chism did mention that there are plans for a future parking garage to be built where the intramural fields exist currently. The department would need at minimum $5 million to even break ground on this project.

“Since transferring from UCF [University of Central Florida] to here [UWF], at first I found parking difficult, but I bought a motorcycle and the convenience of motorcycle parking has made a huge difference,” shared UWF senior Jake Bandurski. “My advice to incoming students is, buy a motorcycle.”

Although not advice that can be utilized by all students, if you do happen to have a motorcycle, you may have an easier time finding parking than the rest of us. But please remember to purchase a parking permit for it to prevent the possibility of receiving a parking ticket.

How do you avoid receiving a parking ticket? It is simple. Buy a parking permit. Park in the areas designated according to your parking permit. And lastly, allow yourself ample time to “hunt and conquer” that parking space and not be late to class.

Next time you are circling the parking lots over and over desperate to find a parking space, think on this. You are not alone. At some point and time, most every student, faculty and staff member has had trouble finding a parking space. The present parking situation is not ideal, but it is what it is for the present. As Argonauts, we must make the best of things and hope for a brighter future–a future filled with close convenient parking for all.

Jeb Bush talks education at Bay Center

Jeb Bush address the crowd at the Pensacola Bay Center Photo by Cassie Rhame

Jeb Bush address the crowd at the Pensacola Bay Center
Photo by Cassie Rhame

Cassie Rhame

Staff Writer

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush visited the Pensacola Bay Center on Wednesday, where his distinctive education reform policies were heard by University of West Florida students in attendance.

The elder Bush brother has been heavily criticized by members of the Republican Party for his static stance on the Common Core policy for education. “I am a fan of higher standards,” said Bush during the event.“Only one-third of our kids are college-ready.” He made clear he will not be dropping his value for the Common Core system, and said he feels it will better prepare young adults for college.

“I am not a fan of Jeb, but I do like that he sticks to what he believes with this as opposed to what the party wants,” said UWF junior theatre major Logan Rausch after the speech.

It was not long into the question-and-answer portion of Jeb’s discussion that the air turned slightly stiff as a young man spoke up about the 48 percent increase in college tuition during Bush’s term as governor of Florida. “We measure full-time equivalent students at 12 credit hours now instead of 15. Students are graduating with four-year degrees in six years,” said Bush.

Bush did not admit that the increase was legitimate in its accuracy, making a joke about the numbers being pulled from the sky. He did claim that the issue fell within these universities not having high enough standards for graduating on time, causing higher debt.

There was robust applause after his talk on the accountability of universities, but not everyone agreed Bush’s method was a fair one. “I think he is focusing on an all-too traditional concept,” said Rausch. “He is not considering students who are unable to take 15 credit hours.”

Several students in attendance were in disagreement with Bush, claiming that credit hours were not a valid excuse for tuition increases.

“I agree with his talk on young people needing to be better educated on what degree they are choosing, but I do think there are other ways to stop tuition from increasing,” said Hayley Bennett, a recent transfer student from UWF who attended the event.

Like Bennett, students agreed with Bush’s plans of education encouragement and the use of mentors. Bush was adamant about increasing students’ ability to graduate in four years.

UWF’s College Republicans had a few members in attendance, which is where acceptance of Bush’s education reform was strongest.

“While I support all Republican candidates, Jeb stands out from the other candidates with his education policy,” said Tyler Ward, President of the College Republicans. “I think programs that he supports, like the Tennessee Promise, are great and encouraging students to stay in school while not be overwhelmed with debt.”

While most agreed with Bush’s discussion of mentoring and educating students on what the income level for their major would be, skepticism remained when asked if Bush’s victory in the election would positively impact our University’s tuition rates.

“He can talk all he wants about his plans to save students from college debt, but I think that the 48 percent increase in tuition during his term as governor proves what the reality would be,” said Rausch.

Excitement for UWF football overshadows pattern of failure

Josh Hart

Staff Writer

<center> Photo by Jason Dustin

Photo by Jason Dustin

UWF football is kind of a big deal, so we’ve been led to believe.

The information we’ve been fed is positive. Football is going to “grow alumni and community support” and “expand sponsorship and other fundraising opportunities,” according to an early press release. However, the practical realities of building a football team have been less than positive for the student body.

We’ve sacrificed the Oak Grove area of campus, a rare space of unfettered natural beauty on campus, cleared away to make way for a field. The student body has lost its free WEPA printing pages, a valuable resource for cash-strapped students, a casualty of football-related building expenses.

All of this would be a nuisance, but an acceptable one, if what we’ve been told about the benefits of increased alumni support and the money UWF will make is guaranteed, or even likely. When universities make more money, more resources are available to students. It’s simple.

Unfortunately, Division II football is steadily making less and less money. In 2013, no Division II football team generated more revenue than they spent, according to this NCAA study from the same year. In fact, the median cost to for Division II institutions to cover their athletic departments was $4.8 million.

If schools like Albany State, which operates in a dedicated football town with two of its own indoor football teams, can’t recoup the money they spent on athletics, what chance does UWF have?

Even Division I football, which attracts massive crowds and is regularly televised, rarely is successful for most of the schools involved in terms of money. According to a different NCAA study, only 20 of the 123 Division I teams considered part of the Football Bowl Subdivision made any money at all in 2013. The teams that lost money lost an average of $2.9 million.

It appears that the University of West Florida has cast its die in a dead game. The NCAA will update these statistics at the end of the year, but if it they too follow the trend of the last several, it will be even more clear that college football as a money-making entity is a thing of the past.

Where does that leave the student body, both of the present and the future? Why should students endure the loss of certain benefits and the destruction of a naturally beautiful part of the university for the good of future students, who might not even get anything out of the deal?

It’s not only the University’s own future they are playing with, it’s ours.