In the eighth-plus months since this blog launched after the untimely demise of the Washington Times sports section (and, hence, my full-time employment), I've received plenty of questions while continuing to cover Maryland athletics as well as other things throughout the Baltimore-Washington corridor and in ACC country.
The most popular query, though, is a simple one: "How the heck are you surviving this?"
That's a good question.
I've stitched together some part-time income from a few outcomes --- enough to avoid completely hemorrhaging cash. Nearly all of my free time is plowed into generating content for the site, a fact that can be viewed in multiple ways.
Along the way (and with a big assist from Twitter), the site has gradually become more popular and a destination for fans seeking a different brand of coverage of Maryland and the ACC. It's a fantastic response, and I'm grateful for it.
The issue now facing me is basic: What next?
I'm convinced, now more than ever, there is demand for thorough and insightful coverage on both a quantitative and qualitative level of college sports on a local and regional level.
For ACC country, it means a thoughtful voice who can both look back at where the conference was in recent decades while maintaining the ability to look ahead at what is to come. Oh, and create Best Eats guides as well.
For fans of many colleges in the Baltimore-D.C. area, it means attention paid to basketball and lacrosse programs that are mostly undercovered as newspapers continue to shrink staffs and space.
And for Maryland fans, who have received the same extensive coverage provided for years, it means having a beat writer with a strong understanding of both the football and basketball programs who can place the flux in the school's athletic department into a proper context.
Between the football team's 2-0 start, the arrival of a new athletic director and a new look for the basketball program, these are interesting times in College Park.
To provide that in a credible manner requires traveling to cover games and other important events on a consistent basis. That, in turn, requires funding that doesn't exist at the moment.
My old colleague Mark Zuckerman faced a similar predicament in the winter and asked readers to help support his fledgling venture. His Nats Insider site has long since passed the 1 million pageview plateau and is now nearing the end of a full season of coverage of Washington's baseball team for Nationals fans.
I'm hoping this request works out nearly as well for college fans in the area.
Fortunately, covering a college beat is a vastly less expensive endeavor than nearly anything pro related. There's fewer and shorter trips, and most travel is regional in nature. But it still costs something between travel and other expenses --- given Maryland's football and basketball schedules this year, $9,000 for the year (through the end of May) is a ballpark guess, with a weekend of postseason basketball included in the estimate.
Donations are strictly optional, and the site will remain free. But subscribers will receive bonus material sent to an e-mail address of their choice on a regular basis.
Among the offerings for the rest of football season plus the entirety of basketball season:
A quick digest and analysis of the day's news --- and what to look for the next day --- e-mailed five nights a week. Basically, everything will be vetted into a single e-mail, and some days it will be longer than others. Preview material for the site will also be included.
Everything in the White tier, plus three specialty D1scourse charts a week (the kind that get the Spiffy Chart tag) exclusive to subscribers and the weekly D1scast (soon to be relaunched as something closer to an actual podcast) e-mailed right to you.
Everything in the White and Black tiers, plus the chance to send a question to be asked to a player or coach over the course of football or basketball season and a free copy (in PDF form) in November of the first D1scourse ACC Basketball Annual, which will include team-by-team analysis similar to the recent football preseason primers plus stats, charts and other goodies.
Everything in the White, Black and Red tiers, plus a subscriber-only invitation to a roundtable event featuring myself and notable guests still to be determined.
You can use the widget above to support the site, and you're free to donate as much or as little as you like.
If you have time, at least give some consideration to how much value you place on D1scourse.com's coverage. Maybe a lot, maybe a little. It will be different for everyone.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read not just this, but the entire coverage on the site. With a little help, D1scourse will continue to grow as a destination site for college sports fans in the Baltimore-Washington area, ACC country and beyond.