FIU menÆs soccer, the universityÆs most successful sport, became endangered when the school strained its athletic budget by introducing football for the 2002 season. The womenÆs soccer program is protected by Title IX.
An outcry from the community -- and extensive coverage by the South Florida press, including a front-page story in the Miami Herald -- upon the elimination announcement may have contributed to the re-examination.
''Soccer has been a long-standing part of our university,'' said athletic director Rick Mello. ''I will be working closely with our head coach Karl Kremser and the FIU Athletic Council to develop a set of criteria for next yearÆs evaluation that will speak to identifying and building support.''
''I accept this final decision and I will support it,'' said Kremser. ''I will do whatever it takes to keep the dream of menÆs soccer alive at FIU, including the immediate creation of a support group.
''I am appreciative of the university for reconsidering and to Rick Mello for stepping forward and his willingness and commitment to making this program successful.''