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FSU finalizes its penalties in academic misconduct scandal

Florida State officials and their consultants have completed the math and determined that former coach Bobby Bowden and the football team will vacate 12 wins as a result of the school's embarrassing academic misconduct scandal.

That's all seven wins from the 2007 season and five from the seven-win 2006 season, including a victory against UCLA in the Emerald Bowl, for using ineligible student-athletes.

For Bowden, who ended his 34-year run in Tallahassee after this year's Gator Bowl win against West Virginia, the record book will show him with 377 career wins and comfortably in second place all-time among Division I-A coaches.

"He was pretty much resigned to it and he's said, 'It doesn't take anything away. I won what I won,' " his wife, Ann Bowden, said Sunday afternoon of the vacated wins. (Bowden was traveling back to Tallahassee from a speaking engagement in Tampa.) "But it's unfair. He's gotten punished for something he had nothing to do with."

Neither FSU nor NCAA investigators found that Bowden or any FSU coach was involved in the scandal that involved 61 student-athletes (25 in football) in 10 sports.

"I think it's going a bit personal as far as I'm concerned," Ann Bowden said of penalizing Bowden and the coaches. "I feel sorry for the other sports that got cut short."

As the St. Petersburg Times has been reporting, the men's outdoor track and field team will vacate its 2007 national championship, the second of three straight, FSU's memorandum said.

Women's basketball will vacate 16 wins from the 2006-07 season, including two from its historic NCAA Tournament run in 2007 when it reached the Sweet 16 for the first time, and six regular-season wins from 2007-08. Baseball lost an NCAA tournament win in 2007, and the men's basketball team will vacate 22 wins from 2006-07, including two NIT wins.

The school had 90 days to submit its report to the NCAA's statistics department once the Division I Infractions Appeals Committee issued its finding Jan. 5 that it had denied FSU's argument that the vacating of wins penalty imposed by the Committee on Infractions was excessive. The math for FSU's report, which should end the case, ultimately was fairly straightforward.

After all, the NCAA said the "trigger" for ineligibility was the moment a student-athlete committed fraud, so the calculation of vacated wins began with ascertaining when the implicated student-athletes first received improper help on the on-line exams for an on-line course, Music Cultures of the World.

In the fall of 2006, the first of five exams in the music course was posted online for one week, Sept. 11-15, a document obtained through a public records request showed.

The football team, for example, was already 2-0 by that date, beating Miami 13-10, on Sept. 4 and beating Troy 24-17 on Sept. 9. That's why the Times has been reporting that 12, not 14, was the maximum number of games that football would have to vacate.

In a release, FSU said that the wins in team sports will be vacated and not included in the season totals or overall records. In sports that use individual scoring to determine the finish, such as track and field, any points by ineligible student-athletes were deducted and the team score re-calculated and its place adjusted. Any championship trophy will be returned this year.

Latest invoices show the school spent about $305,000 for its investigation, the appeal, legal fees and the public records lawsuit.

FAST FACTS

FSU's key losses

Football: 12 wins — five from 2006 and seven from 2007

Men's basketball: all 22 wins from 2006-07 season

Women's basketball: 16 wins from 2006-07 (including two NCAA Tournament wins) and six from 2007-08

Men's outdoor track: 2007 national championship

Baseball: NCAA tournament win in 2007

FSU finalizes its penalties in academic misconduct scandal 02/07/10 [Last modified: Sunday, February 7, 2010 10:18pm]
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