Former FIU coach Isiah Thomas used a Huffington Post column to fire back at accusations from media and FIU (particularly athletic director Pete Garcia) that he's responsible for FIU's men's basketball's postseason ban for under-the-basement APR.
Some of what Thomas says in the column has been seen here in the April 5 post on this blog. He's right about the post-firing transfers damaging FIU's APR, although they weren't all in protest of his firing. That APR effect is one reason, I believe, some football transfer requests have been denied. Football could be in enough APR trouble next year without that.
Anyway, also note what I put in last week's post on the Board of Trustees Athletic Committee: the men's basketball team's GPA for the two semesters of 2011-12 were 2.18 and 2.16. Not exactly a trend of academic achievement there.
CORRECTION ON JUNE 18: The 2011-12 team GPAs were 2.16 and 2.48.
One member of the committee asked Dr. Phil Moses, director of the Student-Athlete Academic Center, if the problems in football and men's basketball were the academic abilities of the athletes recruited or the support system after they're here.
Look, let's be real about this: the four-star guy with the Stanford-level SAT or ACT isn't coming to FIU. He's going ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10. Maybe he gets a wild idea he'd like to be part of the group running the country and go to Harvard or Yale. But he isn't coming to Camp Mitch.
And we all know football and men's basketball coaches at any level get more job security from guys who can do 4.4 on the field or court than guys who can make a 4.4 in the classroom. Coaches at FIU and elsewhere at the "mid-major" level are trying to steal the best players they can from more prominent schools. They usually fail. They must scavange the remains -- a lot of guys who inspire "yeah, but he..." qualifiers. Sometimes, those cautions concern the academic end. But what's a coach to do?
You know: bring the kid on campus. Maybe that support could compensate for any shortcomings in teaching or academic acuity. At least, that's what the coach hopes while running the extracurricular activity that pays for the student-athlete's formal education while perhaps also hindering it.