A Case to Terminate FIU Athletic Director Pete Garcia

February 16th, 2015 | by Ryan Conway
A Case to Terminate FIU Athletic Director Pete Garcia
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fiu athletic director
 
Yesterday, College AD spoke with multiple sources and obtained the official statement from Frank Pena, President of the FIU Alumni Association calling for the removal of FIU Athletic Director Pete Garcia.

Pena substantiates his position by addressing four failing areas within the athletic department, performance on the field, academics, fundraising, and fan support.

College AD will break down the supporting evidence for each of these areas. The full unabridged statement from Frank Pena will follow our summary.
 

Performance on The Field

fiu athletic director

Since 2012, FIU athletics has only won two conference championships. One in Women’s
Soccer in 2012, and the other in Women’s Golf in 2013. Although we are proud of these
accomplishments, both are not revenue-generating sports. Our Football program has a
combined record of 8 wins and 28 losses over the last three years which includes two losses to Bethune-Cookman, an FCS school.

Since the 2006-2007 our Men’s Basketball team has only had one winning season. As for Baseball, since 2006 we have won one conference and participated in just two regionals which ended with being eliminated twice in just two games each time.

Academics

fiu athletic director

The academic performance of our students-athletes has received plenty of negative
media attention. Our 2013 football team had several players that were determined to be
academic ineligible. That undoubtedly contributed to our dismal 1-11 season that year.
Last season, our Men’s Basketball team was not allowed to participate in postseason
play as a result of receiving a sanction from the NCAA.

In both Men’s Basketball and football, our academic progress rate is among the worst in Conference USA. Last year, FIU had just 19 Conference USA Academic Medalist – again fewest in the conference.

Fundraising

fiu athletic director

As for fundraising, Athletics ranks near the bottom among all divisions in the university.

In 2012-2013, Athletics was at 40 percent of its fundraising goal which was last for all university units. One year later, Athletics was at 48 percent of its goal and was still in the bottom quarter of all departments. Keep in mind that the goal was lowered $250,000 from the previous year.

This Fiscal Year Athletics is at just 21 percent of its goal, again near the bottom of all departments. The goal this year is 1.5 million – 1 million less than the previous year. The Fiscal Year ends June30.

Fan Support

fiu athletic director

Our attendance has once again been embarrassing. This past football season, FIU
ranked 127 out of 129 FBS with an average attendance of 11,966. The previous season our program was 120th with an average attendance of 15,453.

To add some context, these attendance figures reflect the total number of seats sold, not the actual number of fans and supporters who attended the game. Anyone who regularly attends football games can confirm that the actual attendance is much, much lower. In fact, it can be safely said that local high schools draw higher attendance in their weekly games. The annual Christopher Columbus-Belen Jesuit game routinely sells out the stadium.

In 2012-2013, there were 347 Division I programs in basketball. FIU ranked 317 in attendance, which was last in the Sun Belt Conference. In 2013-2014, four programs were added to Division 1. Yet, FIU ranked 265th with an average attendance of 1,474. In comparison to other Conference USA programs, after joining the conference, FIU was number 10 of 12 programs in terms of attendance.

With those four areas addressed, Frank Pena concludes by recommending the removal of FIU athletic director Pete Garcia

All of this is an embarrassment for our beloved university. President Rosenberg says at each commencement ceremony, we need to encourage all of them to be proud of their institution, to tell their FIU story and to give back to our university. However, it becomes extremely difficult when the most public and visible department has been a failure.

I, Frank Pena, strongly recommend that a major change happens in the leadership of our Department of Athletics. The sooner these changes would happen, the better.



College AD will keep you updated as this situation develops. For further detail, the full statement for the meeting’s minutes resides unabridged below.
 

Unabridged Statement From Frank Pena Regarding the State of FIU Athletics

 

Duane, Alina, Members of the Office of Alumni Affairs staff, fellow board members and
guests:

I would like to submit the following statement for this meetings minutes:

My friends, we are part of the FIU family and like any other family, FIU is not
perfect. While we have many great accomplishments over our 50-year history – many of
which had not been accomplished by institutions twice or even three times our age – as
family, we need to hold each other accountable and support one another other to be
better.

Countless alumni and South Florida residents time and time again share with me their
concerns with the direction of the FIU Department of Athletics. As President it is my
responsibility to listen to our alumni and express their concerns. I have privately
shared those concerns with many of you and others in our FIU family – including the
Director of Athletics. Sadly, nothing has improved. This is not meant to personally
an attack on anyone’s character. Circumstances in our Athletics Department
have worsened. It has been said that perception is reality, but when reality is worse
than perception, as I believe the case to be, that is a lot worse.

In my view and in that of a vast majority of athletic supporting alumni, our athletic
department is performing terribly. Last week an email was forwarded to me. A board
member of the Broward Chapter resigned in large part because of the direction of the
athletic department.

The success of the athletic department should fairly be measured by the academic
performance of our student-athletes, wins and loses, fundraising and fan support. We
have failed in each of these areas. I will elaborate.

Since 2012, FIU athletics has only won two conference championships. One in Women’s
Soccer in 2012, and the other in Women’s Golf in 2013. Although we are proud of these
accomplishments, both are not revenue-generating sports. Our Football program has a
combined record of 8 wins and 28 losses over the last three years which includes two
losses to Bethune-Cookman, an FCS school. Since the 2006-2007 our Men’s Basketball
team has only had one winning season. As for Baseball, since 2006 we have won one
conference and participated in just two regionals which ended with being eliminated
twice in just two games each time.

The academic performance of our students-athletes has received plenty of negative
media attention. Our 2013 football team had several players that were determined to be
academic ineligible. That undoubtedly contributed to our dismal 1-11 season that year.
Last season, our Men’s Basketball team was not allowed to participate in postseason
play as a result of receiving a sanction from the NCAA. In both Men’s Basketball and
football, our academic progress rate is among the worst in Conference USA. Last year,
FIU had just 19 Conference USA Academic Medalist – again fewest in the conference.

As for fundraising, Athletics ranks near the bottom among all divisions in the
university. In 2012-2013, Athletics was at 40 percent of its fundraising goal which
was last for all university units. One year later, Athletics was at 48 percent of its
goal and was still in the bottom quarter of all departments. Keep in mind that the
goal was lowered $250,000 from the previous year. This Fiscal Year Athletics is at
just 21 percent of its goal, again near the bottom of all departments. The goal this
year is 1.5 million – 1 million less than the previous year. The Fiscal Year ends June
30.

Our attendance has once again been embarrassing. This past football season, FIU
ranked 127 out of 129 FBS with an average attendance of 11,966. The previous season
our program was 120th with an average attendance of 15,453. To add some context, these
attendance figures reflect the total number of seats sold, not the actual number of
fans and supporters who attended the game. Anyone who regularly attends football games
can confirm that the actual attendance is much, much lower. In fact, it can be safely
said that local high schools draw higher attendance in their weekly games. The annual
Christopher Columbus-Belen Jesuit game routinely sells out the stadium.

In 2012-2013, there were 347 Division I programs in basketball. FIU ranked 317 in
attendance, which was last in the Sun Belt Conference. In 2013-2014, four programs
were added to Division 1. Yet, FIU ranked 265th with an average attendance of 1,474.
In comparison to other Conference USA programs, after joining the conference, FIU was
number 10 of 12 programs in terms of attendance.

All of this is an embarrassment for our beloved university. As members of the Board
of Directors for the FIU Alumni Association, we all know the great things FIU does
every day for our community. We truly are “Worlds Ahead” in many areas, but the
Athletic Department under the leadership of the current Athletic Director is a big
blemish on our record. University leadership has set the precedent for generations to
come on how to truly be “Worlds Ahead”. Earlier I spoke of the wonderful work Dr.
Pehlman is doing and how the College of Law is leading the state in important
barometers. We all know the eye-opening accomplishments of our College of Hospitality
Management, the College of Business and the College of Medicine. Our fellow alumni
are an integral part of the South Florida community and the students we are educating,
many of which are or will be our children, will be starting business, being elected to
public office, or even leading our future academic institutions of higher learning. As
President Rosenberg says at each commencement ceremony, we need to encourage all of
them to be proud of their institution, to tell their FIU story and to give back to our
university. However, it becomes extremely difficult when the most public and visible
department has been a failure. I, Frank Pena, strongly recommend that a major change
happens in the leadership of our Department of Athletics. The sooner these changes
would happen, the better.

Thank you for listening patiently.

I will now open the floor for comments or questions.


About Ryan Conway
Ryan Conway founded College AD in September of 2013. Ryan launched College AD with the goal of providing hard working college athletic department personnel with the latest industry news to help further their careers. Ryan has spent most of his career working in, or around college athletics. He has worked in the Southeastern Conference, the Southern Conference, and the Sun Belt Conference.

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