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Members Recap Campus Visits in Season’s First Team Selection Committee Meeting

The Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee held its first meeting of the 2017-18 season Monday morning at Camping World Stadium, and after three weeks of memorable college football action and nearly two dozen campus visits already logged this year, there were more than a few exciting stories to go around.

While members dined on a catered breakfast in the East Indoor Club, Florida Citrus Sports representatives shared tales of their early-season travels, led by Jim Clarke, who recapped his trip to Indianapolis for a thrilling season-opener between Purdue and Louisville in Indianapolis in Week 1. Two weeks later, Phil Zeman and Rodney Croskey were also on hand for the primetime matchup between Louisville and defending national champion Clemson.

Following Clarke, Dominic Ford of Mercedes-Benz of South Orlando and Harry Stadelmayer of Certified Financial Group told tales of their trips to a pair of impressive stadiums for Week 1 neutral-site games.

Team Selection Committee member Shawn Cavalieri paid a visit to FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, to see a Week 1 matchup between West Virginia and Virginia Tech.

Ford and his son, Declan, traveled to Atlanta’s sparkling new Mercedes-Benz Stadium to see the Chick-fil-A Kickoff between Florida State and Alabama, while Stadelmayer and Jonathan Gorman checked out Florida’s loss to Michigan at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. Neither result was ideal for the Florida-based teams, but both Ford and Stadelmayer left in awe of the spectacle and the buildings they visited.

Later, new member Jim Martin relived his experience in Chestnut Hill for Notre Dame’s 49-20 win over Boston College at Alumni Stadium. Martin said he enjoyed taking in the tailgate scene at one of the ACC’s most intimate venues, and recalled being sought out by Notre Dame officials, who were pleased to find Florida Citrus Sports in attendance for the Fighting Irish’s latest victory in the rivalry series, which hasn’t seen a Notre Dame loss since 2008.

Bill Staiger also shared a similar take on his Week 3 experience at Pitt, where he saw the Panthers fall 59-21 to Oklahoma State. Staiger walked away from Heinz Field impressed with the Cowboys, who got another standout game out of senior quarterback Mason Rudolph, but also was struck by the crowd’s support of Pitt sophomore quarterback Ben DiNucci, a hometown kid who led the Panthers to two second-quarter touchdowns after taking over for starter Max Browne.

Finally, members heard from Todd LeDoux, who witnessed a thriller between Arizona State and Texas Tech on Saturday night in West Texas. LeDoux said the Red Raiders rolled out the red carpet for his visit — and, thankfully, made sure he didn’t end up in the line of fire when posing for a photo with the Masked Rider and his horse, Fearless Champion — and strongly encouraged other members to not overlook Lubbock if an opportunity to visit presents itself.

Once all the recaps had been shared, Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan took to the microphone to share a brief update on the state of the organization, its plans for the upcoming season and the company’s continued commitment to work in the Central Florida community.

The next Team Selection Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 25. The Team Selection Committee is an all-volunteer community that represents FCS at games across the Big Ten, SEC, ACC and Big 12, and participation is open to all active members of Florida Citrus Sports. To learn more about membership options, visit our information page.