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FSU pleads case on sanctions, now waits on NCAA

Florida State officials spent most of Saturday behind closed doors at the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis, hoping to persuade the Division I Committee on Infractions not to impose additional sanctions and close the book on an academic misconduct scandal.

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"We appreciate the efforts of the committee and the NCAA enforcement staff in the timely resolution of this matter," FSU president T.K. Wetherell said in a statement.

Neither he nor the 10 others present on behalf of the school commented further as they left the room after 5 p.m. (the proceeding started at 8:30 a.m.) and the short statement said no one would until the committee announces its findings. That typically takes 4-8 weeks.

The ACC will review the committee's finding and the league can add more penalties if it deemed such action appropriate, a step the ACC hasn't historically taken.

At the hearing, FSU faced allegations it had violated major rules, among them a failure to monitor three former employees in its Athletics Academic Support Services, including Brenda Monk, a learning specialist. The misconduct involved 61 student-athletes in 10 sports, most of whom were said to have received answers to online tests in one online music course.

The school has imposed numerous sanctions on itself, including a loss of scholarships (five in football over two years) and suspensions for those players who admitted misconduct.

"We've punished ourselves like we think they would," coach Bobby Bowden said recently. "All we can go by is what they have done in the past. Now if they change procedure, I guess anything can happen. … I'm anxious for them to get it decided, yeah. It affects how you're going to recruit."

The committee can, in fact, add penalties ranging from more scholarship losses to possibly forfeiting games, a fine or restricting future television appearances.

Ultimately, that could hinge on what the committee heard from Monk and her attorney, Brant Hargrove, who paid their own way to appear at the hearing. Monk insisted in an exclusive 90-minute telephone interview Monday with the St. Petersburg Times that she didn't commit fraud, was not "dishonest" and was a scapegoat.

Correspondent John Schwarb contributed to this report. Brian Landman can be reached at landman@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3347.

FSU pleads case on sanctions, now waits on NCAA 10/18/08 [Last modified: Saturday, October 18, 2008 9:13pm]
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