Ever since the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions meted out a penalty that Florida State would have to vacate wins from the 2006 and 2007 football seasons, simple math came into play.
The Seminoles won seven games each year, so, barring an unsuccessful appeal of that penalty that won't be heard until mid November in Indianapolis, that meant as many as 14 victories were at stake for coach Bobby Bowden.
But it may not be that simple.
"There could be none (vacated)," FSU president T.K. Wetherell said during an interview with the St. Petersburg Times, referring to a deal FSU and the NCAA reached to reinstatethe student-athletes involved in the university's academic-misconduct scandal.
"But I'm not sure you'll ever get to 14."
Bowden has 382 career wins and is two behind Penn State's Joe Paterno for the Division I-A all-time lead. The 79-year-old FSU coach seemingly would have to vacate no more than five wins - and more likely four - from the 2006 season to reduce the total for the two seasons 11, according to an analysis of records obtained by the Times.
If the "trigger" for ineligibility is the moment fraud was committed, as the NCAA has said but FSU officials dispute - that has ignited a war of words between Wetherell and the NCAA - then any calculation of vacated wins would begin with ascertaining when the student-athletes first received improper help on the exams for an online course, Music Cultures of the World.
- In the fall of 2006, the first of five exams in the music course (the epicenter for the scandal that involved 61 student-athletes in 10 sports) was posted online for one week, Sept. 11-15, a document obtained through a public records request shows.
The Seminoles had already played - and won - two games by that date:beating Miami 13-10 on Sept. 4 and Troy 24-17 on Sept. 9.
- Another record, the case summary report that was furnished to the Committee on Infractions before the school's hearing in October, indicates that former academic adviser Hillard Goldsmith III directed student-athletes to work with an unnamed tutor only "after the first exam on which everyone did poorly."
The second exam in the fall of 2006 was not posted until the week of Oct. 2-6, the record from the class shows. By that time frame, the Seminoles had played two more games - and won one, beating Rice 55-7 on Sept. 23.
What remains unclear from documents obtained by the Times is when any football players used a study guide that former learning specialist Brenda Monk had put together for the music class.
Monk has denied she helped any student-athletes on exams in that class and has strongly denied that her editing papers for learning-disabled students constituted fraud. She is appealing the findings and her hearing before the Infractions Appeals Committee is set for Nov. 16, a day after FSU's hearing.
If that group finds for her, either in part or in whole, that could eliminate, or at least reduce, her from any calculations of vacated games - if that penalty stands - so the math might change again.
Brian Landman can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3347.