Thursday, May 8, 2008

FIU Faces Probation Until 2012; Canes Are Thugs?

Results from the NCAA's annual progress report were released yesterday, and they revealed that 218 Division I teams, including FIU and FAU, face punishment for not meeting minimal student-athlete standards. In all, the FIU athletic program loses 20 1/3 scholarships over the next four years, with the fledgling football program losing 3 of them. FIU athletic director Pete Garcia basically blamed his predecessors, saying that when he arrived at FIU, the university just didn't have the educational and technical support to help its athletes make high academic marks.

I now go to the defensive crouch posture in reference to my alma mater, the University of Miami. I've had to hear Hurricanes football players called "thugs" (when detractors are feeling extra-courteous) for years. I've long maintained to the detractors (who have an astonishing reluctance to deploy or even listen to reason when it comes to the topic) that since Butch Davis' arrival in 1995, things have been squeaky clean in comparison to most other collegiate programs. Well, I've been vindicated. According to the same NCAA annual progress report, the Canes football team posted a score of 969, placing it in the top 20 percent of all teams. Check the number of academic All-Americans the football team has had in the past decade, and while you're at it check the number of arrests, too - it's an eye-opening and preconceptions-smashing experience. Hate the Canes if you must, but check the facts before you paint a huge number of really solid kids as "thugs".


ASponge said...

Ouch ouch ouch! UM scholar athletes? FAU on probation?

Jay Warman's stomach must be rolling over right now. Big praise goes to UM for cleaning up its will FAU?

Jay Warman said...

Hey, just because the FAU professors have the integrity to give the football players the grades they deserve doesn't mean we don't have a clean program ... it means we do! While Miami's faculty makes certain that the football team gets passing grades the FAU players have to earn their marks. Miami just got smarter since Butch Davis... not necessarily cleaner.

E.J. said...

Hmm, where do I start? Jay, it sounds like your biases are doing the talking for you. With all due respect, and I have much for you, you can't know if Miami's players are not cleaner. And I can't either.

All I can tell you is that from my experience with Hurricanes players from 2000 to 2004, many were amazing, charitable, funny, and wholly decent people. Ask anyone who knows anything about college football that Butch Davis and Larry Coker were renowned for recruiting for character.

Another thing I can tell you is that UM in the last two decades has had one of the thinnest team criminal records among the elite programs. Here's a little something to whet your appetite, just based on last year:

I will help you chip away at your biases, Jay! We can do this together.

Christian said...

If the Canes are thugs, then Hillary's a man! (wait...that would make the canes thugs...)

Christian said...

By the way, EJ's right, you can't know and definitely can't assume that the University of Miami is "making sure" that their players pass. Considering many a recruit have been turned away from attending the University because of grades and problems with the law (and attitude.)
And in regards to the "smarter not cleaner" comment...check the facts and see how UM ranks...pretty clean if you ask me.

E.J. said...

I will echo Christian in terms of recruiting. Many, many Hurricanes fans have been dismayed with the high academic standards that Donna Shalala has imposed for incoming recruits. We've had to turn away players who've wanted to come here badly - LSU's Ali Highsmith, FSU's Neefy Moffet, and West Virginia's Noel Devine, to name a few, because players need to surpass a threshold high school academic competency to even be CONSIDERED for a football scholarship.

The popular thing is to bash the Canes. But really, someone needs to stand up for them when they're doing right, no matter what the program's past reputation.

P.S. - I have no idea where that Hilary comment came from, but Christian, your larger point is acknowledged.

Jay Warman said...

Obviously I am biased. It is my team and my school and I have had similar positive experiences with the players in my three years at FAU.

Our act is clean, Schnellenberger and his assistants wouldn't allow anything else.

Making the transition from scratch to D1-AA to D1-A (FBS) in seven years has its advantages ... but also it's pitfalls. For an example on how to mess it up see FIU.

We have already imposed the scholarship cut on ourselves for last year and this year we have the full 85.

Plus, what we are talking about here isn't thug players, it is either inept athletic depts and/or intellectually challenged players.

So, I'm biased...your biased...that's what makes us fans. I think "chipping away" at that would make sports less fun.

E.J. said...

A clarification, though...

I never said, nor meant to imply, that either FIU nor FAU were thugs. Of course all those results meant was at most academic ineptitude. All I was doing was posing the question, "Based on UM's relative academic excellence and program cleanliness, can they be called thugs?"

If it came off as implying that FIU or FAU were thuggish in any way, I apologize. I'll never ever call any team's players thugs unless there is evidence of actual pervasive criminal behavior. Which is more than most people would grant me as a Canes fan.