Over the weekend we told you about Florida International University’s ludicrous decision to ban its only dedicated beat reporter from covering its athletic events. FIU, and embattled athletic director Pete Garcia, refused to credential David J. Neal of the Miami Herald in some kind of draconian power struggle. The university denied Neal a credential because of “concerns” over his coverage of the school. The paper vehemently stood by the reporter.
Apparently those “concerns” from the university were short-lived because FIU restored Neal’s credential this week. It just happened to come after FIU lost 14-12 to FCS school Bethune-Cookman from the MEAC. Maybe the school knew what they were doing after all! Although given the history of the FIU football program, counting on any victories and positive press this season might be a bridge too far.
The update from the Miami Herald:
After denying access to Miami Herald beat writer David J. Neal for the football team’s opening game last Saturday, Florida International University has decided to credential him for the remainder of the season, according to Paul Dodson, the school’s assistant athletic director for media relations.
“The FIU sports program is an important part of our coverage,“ said Miami Herald Executive Editor Aminda Marqués Gonzalez. “We’re glad we were able to reach a quick resolution.”
Neal, who is covering his fourth FIU season, attended Saturday’s 14-12 loss to Bethune-Cookman with a ticket and sat in the stands, but did not write a game story or post-game blog, as he would have were he credentialed.
Neal’s access to FIU coaches and athletes had been reduced for months. He was not allowed to attend football practice or conduct interviews.
It remains to be seen whether or not FIU will be as difficult as they were the first time they credentialed Neal. It’s a brilliant strategy if you think about it. What better way to cover up an embarrassing loss than by making sure the only beat reporter for your school doesn’t cover the game you lose to a lower division school?
It’s a real shame though because the best way the paper could have gotten back at the school for their treatment of Neal and pulling the credential was by covering the Bethune-Cookman defeat in great detail. If anything, the Herald should increase their coverage of the FIU football team this year and let the schadenfreude flow.