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About that APR story

There's been a lively discussion on the blogosphere about Thursday's story about the Academic Progress Report. A lot of FIU fans strongly feel like it's a non-story. Seems like a lot of excitement over a 329-word piece that, to most outsiders, is a pretty straightforward rehash of the NCAA report released Wednesday.

First off, having the most teams penalized of any Division I school in the nation is a legitimate story. The Associated Press agreed.

If I made one mistake, it was by omission. I did not adequately point out that the while the indoor and outdoor track and cross country programs are considered separate teams, they use many of the same athletes, so a couple of poor students can bring down the scores of all three. Fair enough. There's only so much space in the sports section, especially during the World Cup, and things get cut. That's also the reason UM is included in the story.

As for the idea pushed by some that it's sensationalized, "yellow" journalism, I have a question: If it was the Herald's goal to blindly rip FIU, why did we make it one of the shortest stories in Sports Thursday and put it on the ninth page of the section? When writing the story, I went out of my way to mention improvements in FIU's academic standing (check out the first six words of the story). I mention FIU baseball's 975 score this year, and the perfect ratings for men's cross country, women's golf, women's tennis and women's volleyball, as well as a quote from Pete Garcia.

I know some don't want a single negative word of FIU coverage in the Herald, but our job isn't to blindly promote the university. Thanks for reading.

UPDATE: Unless it wasn't clear the first time around, let me explicitly spell out why UM was included. The Hurricanes were not subjected to any punishment, in fact had a very strong APR. So because constraints of space in the newspaper, the department decided to combine the two schools into one story. You might have noticed, but there's a lot more going on right now in the world of sports, and the decision was to dedicate more resources to the actual games on the field right now. Also because of space constraints, I didn't mention that FIU went from having one team penalized in 2009 to seven in 2010. If anything I've said is factually inaccurate, it's my duty to write a retraction. But I've yet had a single person point a factual error out. I know there are many out there willing to have an open mind about potentially critical information regarding FIU, and I appreciate that. For others of my more strident critics, who think that I do not report on positive FIU news, let me close with this:

Despite recent improvement in the classroom, Florida International University is among the nation's most-penalized schools for academic sins of its past, the NCAA announced Wednesday.

....

So although the baseball team's score was 975 in 2008-09, its multiyear rate was 890 and still subject to punishment. The other reprimanded teams were men's soccer, both the men's and women's indoor and outdoor track teams and women's cross country, according to an athletic department spokesman.

Four FIU programs recorded perfect scores this past year: men's cross country, women's golf, women's tennis and women's volleyball.

Please enjoy the summer. And thanks as always for reading.

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