FLORENCE, Ala. — Florida State coach Bobby Bowden isn't ready to give back wins the NCAA wants to remove from his record because of an academic cheating scandal.
Bowden, 79, said Tuesday that he still hopes the NCAA-vacated wins will be restored after a university appeal, keeping his race with Penn State's Joe Paterno going.
Paterno has 383 wins, one more than Bowden.
"Of course, I'm hoping to win that appeal. I've been coaching 55 years and I never have been involved in cheating," said Bowden, seated next to his three coaching sons at North Alabama. "Here I've done nothing and I'm going to lose 14 ball games. It doesn't seem right, but it could happen. And I won't cut my wrists if that doesn't happen. There are more important things in life.
"But I do hope that they rethink that like they did with Oklahoma and Georgia Tech (in recent years), where they first said they were going to take away wins and they changed their minds."
The NCAA said 61 Seminole athletes cheated on an online test in a music history course from fall 2006 through summer 2007 or received improper help from staffers who provided them with answers to the exam and typed papers for them.
The university has appealed, arguing that stripping the school, its coaches and athletes of victories in several sports is too harsh.
Bowden spoke about the prospect of losing the wins during "A Day With the Bowdens" at North Alabama, where son Terry is approaching his first season as football coach. Terry, Tommy and North Alabama associate head coach Jeff Bowden hosted a prayer breakfast and seminars with teenagers and adults.
The NCAA vacating 14 Bowden wins is not the way Paterno wants the chase for the winningest coach status to end.
"The NCAA is going to do what it's going to do, but I would hope they would not take away (the wins) from him," Paterno told the Reading Eagle in Pennsylvania.
Asked about the comments, Bowden said: "That doesn't surprise me. I would say the same thing if it was facing him. I hope that doesn't happen because there will always be an asterisk out there.
"He's in the lead right now," he said. "Of course if you vacate those 14 wins, that thing is over."
Meanwhile, Jeff Bowden spoke publicly for the first time about how he has spent the past 21/2 years after his six-year tenure as FSU's offensive coordinator and how he recovered from an experience Terry described as "hell."
"If I had to point to one thing," Jeff told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday, "I'd just say I wish I could have done a better job. That's all I've got control over. I wish I could have done a better job. That's all."
Amid scrutiny, Jeff left FSU at the end of the 2006 season — the first of consecutive 7-6 finishes for the Seminoles. Now he will coach receivers at North Alabama.
About his time at FSU, where he played for Bobby and later coached alongside him, Jeff said, "I don't look back. And I'm not bitter about it. I'm really not."
Ex-USF signee making visits: Wesley Chapel offensive lineman Kamran Joyer, who signed with USF in February but was granted a release last month, will likely sign with a Big East rival this week. Joyer's father, Jack, said his son will make an official visit to Louisville today and has a visit scheduled to Rutgers on Friday.
Tennessee: Senior receiver Austin Rogers tore the ACL in his right knee and will miss the 2009 season, and junior receiver Denarius Moore broke a bone in his left foot and will be out eight to 12 weeks, ESPN.com reported.
Basketball: Spinal surgery for former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian, 79, was delayed because his blood is too thin, the Las Vegas Sun reported. Doctors at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Calif., will monitor Tarkanian, who needs a bone spur removed because it is pressing on his spinal cord. … Providence coach Keno Davis received a contract extension through the 2015-16 season.
Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.