Bowden says team 'didn't intentionally play an ineligible player'
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State coach Bobby Bowden isn't concerned the Seminoles will have to forfeit games for using ineligible players this season.
"We didn't intentionally play an ineligible player," he said Thursday. "We didn't know anyone was ineligible. We held out two guys, [Kevin] McNeil and [Joslin] Shaw. We felt like it was the right thing to do."
Bowden has 373 career victories, the most in major college history and two ahead of Penn State's Joe Paterno. One of Bowden's wins came by forfeit in 1983 when Tulane's 34-28 on-field victory was reversed because it used ineligible players.
About two dozen Florida State players have been suspended for the Music City Bowl against Kentucky for cheating on an online exam. Bowden and his coaches are reconstructing a team that expects to be without some top players.
"We are pretty set on what we are going to do in that regard," Bowden said after Thursday's practice.
What's left of the Seminoles will practice Friday and Saturday before breaking for Christmas. The players who will travel to the bowl game return to practice Dec. 26 and Dec. 27 before leaving for Nashville.
Several starters were among the players in a music history class last spring where students were apparently given answers during an exam.
An academic adviser, Brenda Monk, resigned after being asked about the cheating, and a student tutor was fired. Citing federal privacy laws, Florida State has not identified the athletes being disciplined.
Florida State officials reported the incident to the NCAA in September and are eager to get it resolved without sanctions that could darken Bowden's final seasons at the school.
The 78-year-old coach signed on for one more year, with an option for another, earlier this month at the same time offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher was named as his successor.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press