FAU Statement Regarding Inaccurate Palm Beach Post Story
Today, Florida Atlantic University issued the following statement in direct response to what it considers inaccurate and misleading reporting by the Palm Beach Post.
The conclusions drawn by the reporter are based on the 2016-17 EADA report filed by FAU. Following the reporter’s initial inquiry regarding information in the report, FAU became aware of inaccuracies in the data and alerted the reporter, prior to publication, of the clerical errors made by a former employee of the university. FAU offered to provide the updated data expeditiously to the reporter, but the reporter intentionally ran the story based on knowingly inaccurate data, rather than waiting for the updated report.
The university has now revised that information in a corrected report, which will be filed with the U.S. Department of Education using its correction procedures.
The revised report shows that in 2016-2017, female student-athletes received a balanced 49.0 percent of FAU’s athletic participation opportunities. This is consistent with FAU’s upward trend in female athletic participation opportunities since it added NCAA women’s beach volleyball in 2012, which was FAU’s third new varsity sport for women since 2000.
In regard to FAU’s allocation of athletic scholarships, the revised report shows that in 2016-2017, 43.1 percent of FAU’s student-athletes were female and they received 45.0 percent of FAU’s athletic scholarship dollars, for a 1.9 percent difference in favor of female student-athletes.
FAU takes its responsibility to provide equitable athletic participation opportunities extremely seriously. Under federal guidelines, there are three alternative benchmarks for the university to meet that obligation. In recent years, FAU complied with the second prong of the federal guidelines, which require the university to demonstrate a history and continuing practice of program expansion. Between 2007 and 2015, the total number of NCAA participation opportunities for female student-athletes grew from 139 to 266.The addition of beach volleyball in 2012 continued FAU’s practice of expanding opportunities for female student-athletes. We currently are studying whether to continue that trajectory or pursue a different compliance option for future years. FAU already competes in all Conference USA sports for women and the university continues to explore new opportunities, both in existing and emerging sports, to build championship teams in women’s athletics.
In the meantime, our existing women’s’ teams continue to thrive. This year, FAU’s softball team advanced to the Conference USA championship game for the third time in the last four years. Its beach volleyball team was ranked in the top 25 nationally for the past two years, had four FAU beach volleyball players go to nationals, and two – Jessalyn Kinlaw and Mackenzie Morris – just competed in the USAV Collegiate Beach Championships in Hermosa Beach, California. The Women’s Tennis team reached the Conference USA semi-finals for the first time in FAU history, and star player Aliona Bolsova was named Conference USA Women’s Tennis Player of the Year.
The university is enormously proud of all its student-athletes.