Athletic academic support program director leaves amid scandal

Updated: January 9, 2008, 4:57 PM ET
Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The director of Florida State's athletic academic support program is the latest casualty of the cheating scandal that stripped the football team of two dozen key players in last month's bowl loss to Kentucky.

Mark Meleney was told his contract would not be renewed, although he will be kept on the payroll until its expiration this summer to help with the transition.

"Meleney was not fired," Florida State President T.K. Wetherell said Wednesday. "He's got the option to apply for anything."

Meleney, who was informed of his dismissal Tuesday, did not immediately respond to a phone message Wednesday for comment. He was head of the program for nine years.

Wetherell said he thought the personnel changes were largely completed.

Two of Meleney's employees were dismissed last year after it became known that answers were called out to students taking a music history class last spring. Many of those in the class were scholarship athletes.

"It's not physiology, it's a music course. Open book, online," football coach Bobby Bowden fumed last month during a preparation for the team's Dec. 31 Music City Bowl game. "Anybody could pass an open book test, gee whiz."

Athletic director Dave Hart Jr., and several of his assistants have also left in recent months, although those changes weren't directly related to the present investigation of academic wrongdoing by the school and NCAA.

Florida State is finalizing its report to the NCAA that involves nearly four dozen athletes in several sports who had answers provided to them on the exam in the three-credit hour class.

"We'd like to do it sooner than later, but that's up to the NCAA," Wetherell said. "We want to make sure we've got everything in it that they want."

He thought the report would be on its way by the end of the month. The university reported its initial findings in a letter to the NCAA in September after a six-month investigation by the school.

Wetherell has put interim athletic director Bill Proctor in charge of reshaping the academic support program.

"The president has high expectations about athletes attendance in class," Proctor said. "We are working on restructuring our academic support system. We want to make sure it functions."

The players forced to sit out the bowl game will also be suspended for the first three games of the 2008 season.

Federal privacy laws prohibit the school from releasing names of the suspended athletes.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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