Low APR scores reveal bigger problems than bad coaching

Editorial Board/FIUSM Staff 

In Las Vegas, everyone knows that the job of the dealer is to distribute the playing cards to the players. It seems that Executive Director of Sports and Entertainment Pete Garcia has discovered his inner dealer by shifting blame for low Academic Progress Rate scores to his coaches.

After the 2011-2012 APR scores became official, the FIU men’s basketball team received a ban from next year’s postseason and a reduction in practice time. FIU scored a humiliating score of 750, way below the NCAA minimum requirement of 900.

However, instead of placing the blame on Garcia, someone who was brought into this school to fix its already tarnished Athletics Department, it seems the blame was shifted over to former men’s basketball coach Isiah Thomas.

That is hard to believe, seeing how FIU’s scores during the first two years under Thomas were 910 and 909, just above the NCAA’s minimum average of 900. It was only during the 2011-2012 season where the APR score hit a low 858 — a score that Thomas noted only happened when a number of student athletes turned pro unexpectedly, or transferred without a release due to him being fired.

So if the math is right, the resulting low APR scores during the 2011-2012 season were due, in part, to Garcia’s decision to let go of Thomas knowing full well that a majority of the team would leave in an uproar. These are the questions that people don’t ask: how can Thomas be the one punished for the low APR scores when, during his time here, the team was over the minimum average?

In fact, Thomas said that many players wanted to transfer, but were told that they would not be given their releases because it would affect FIU’s APR score. Once again, Garcia showed off his arrogance and power. As a result, seven scholarship students left in anger without getting released, thus plummeting the APR score.

If the entire scandal involving the men’s basketball team isn’t enough to place the blame back on the man in charge of Athletics, how about this fun fact: since Garcia was hired back in 2006, the football, men’s basketball, soccer and track and field teams, as well as the women’s cross-country and indoor and outdoor track teams have been sanctioned by the NCAA for poor academic performance at least once.

Garcia even went as far as adding resources to the Student-Athlete Academic Center in 2008 by increasing the center’s operating budget to $195,000 and doubling the number of tutors to 14, as well as purchasing 20 personal computers and 25 laptops for the students. However, all this spending was for naught as multiple teams continued to score well below the minimum score of 900.

That’s six athletic programs that have been punished by the NCAA over the past seven years under Garcia. If this was any other sports-accomplished school such as Duke, Ohio State or the University of Miami, Garcia would have found himself looking for a new employer a long time ago.

To have two or three programs in trouble with APR scores is bad enough, but to have six is just downright embarrassing to the Athletics department and the University itself.




1 Comment on "Low APR scores reveal bigger problems than bad coaching"

  1. The numbers (910 and 909) for IT tenure are the multi-year APR scores so mostly influenced by the numbers from the previous years (before his arrival). A better ideal of how well he did would be to look at the scores for each year he was at FIU. For single year APR scores: 2011-2012 750; 2011-2010 833; 2010-2009 (couldn’t find that year in the NCAA database but the year before IT got to FIU the score was a 933). So if we throw out the 2011-2012 APR of 750 (and I agree that Garcia’s arrogance played a major role in that score), IT took the program from a 933 to a 833 in two years.

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