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Florida State puts itself on probation after academic scandal

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State's sports teams will be on
self-imposed probation for two years and some will lose
scholarships because of an academic cheating scandal, the
university said in a report released Thursday.

About 60 student-athletes have lost or will suffer some loss of
eligibility. Two staffers, a tutor and learning specialist, already
had been fired. No additional dismissals were listed in the
investigatory report.

The cheating occurred mainly through online testing for a single
course in fall 2006 and the spring and summer semesters last
year.

Florida State officials conducted the investigation with
assistance from the NCAA, Atlantic Coast Conference and a
consulting firm. The report has been sent to the NCAA, which can
still conduct its own investigation and impose additional
penalties.

Among the corrective actions listed in the report is a
requirement for all athletics staff members to attend a four-hour
training program titled, "Decision-Making in the NCAA Compliance
Environment."

"We believe that our investigation has been thorough and
exhaustive," said Florida State provost Larry Abele, who chaired
the investigating committee. "This university and its athletics
department have accepted responsibility, made changes in the
process and systems and imposed penalties as warranted."

A school spokesman was not immediately able to explain how the
probation, effective Wednesday, would affect the teams.

The NCAA's Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff, though, has
agreed to a 30 percent across-the-board loss of eligibility for
students who came forward and admitted they received improper help
with the test.

Some of the penalties already have gone into effect. About two
dozen of the football team's top players were suspended for the
Music City Bowl on Dec. 31 in Nashville, Tenn., where the Seminoles
lost to Kentucky. Many of those players will remain suspended for
the first three games of the 2008 season.

The school also is making changes at five senior staff levels in
the athletic department, though the report did not include details
on the changes.

Former athletic director Dave Hart Jr. departed late last year
with a year still left on his contract, but he denied it had
anything to do with the cheating scandal. Last week, the school
hired former Utah State athletic director Randy Spetman.