Advertisement
  1. Sports

FSU upholds Jameis Winston conduct code ruling on appeal

Florida State Seminoles quaterback Jameis Winston leaves his student conduct code hearing on December 2, 2014 in Tallahassee, Florida [Getty Images]
Florida State Seminoles quaterback Jameis Winston leaves his student conduct code hearing on December 2, 2014 in Tallahassee, Florida [Getty Images]
Published Mar. 14, 2015

Florida State University has upheld its decision not to charge star quarterback Jameis Winston with violating its code of conduct regarding sexual assault allegations.

FSU vice president of student affairs Allison H. Crume affirmed the ruling in a letter dated Friday and obtained Saturday by the Tampa Bay Times. USA Today first reported the news.

Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Major Harding first ruled on the case in December, after reviewing two days of testimony and 1,000 pages of documents. Harding wrote that neither Winston nor his accuser, Zephyrhills' Erica Kinsman, had a story that was "substantially stronger" than the other.

Kinsman appealed that ruling on Jan. 12.

Her appeal, according to a copy obtained by the Times, said there was no evidence she gave a "clear verbal consent" to the December 2012 sexual encounter. Her five-page letter also argued that Harding improperly weighed the bulk of the evidence and that FSU President John Thrasher improperly praised the process before the appeals process was over.

FSU denied that appeal Friday in a three-paragraph letter.

"After a careful review of your case record and all the materials related to this disciplinary matter, I am affirming the recommended decision," Crume wrote.

Winston announced in January that he was leaving school early to declare for the NFL draft. He's considered to be the frontrunner to be the Bucs' selection with the No. 1 overall pick. The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner has never been arrested or charged with a crime, and he and his attorneys have denied any wrongdoing.

The letter said Kinsman can seek a judicial review of the ruling, and one of her attorneys, Baine Kerr, said she is considering that option.

Part of the case is already in court. Kinsman sued FSU in January, five days before her appeal. She alleged that the university failed to follow the gender-equity law Title IX regarding her sexual assault accusations. FSU filed a motion to dismiss the suit Monday.

Mediation is scheduled for next March, with a trial set for August 2016.

Contact Matt Baker at mbaker@tampabay.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.