Florida State to appeal forfeits

Updated: March 17, 2009, 1:27 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State University will appeal the part of an NCAA sanction that would take away wins in 10 sports, including as many as 14 in football.

President T.K. Wetherell will announce the school's appeal Tuesday.

Trustees chairman Jim Smith says the board is 100 percent behind the decision.

"It's certainly unfair to coach [Bobby] Bowden," Smith said Monday. "It was a breakdown in academics, a breakdown that none of us condone."

Before discussing the first day of spring practice on Monday, Bowden made a statement.

"I'm not going to comment about the NCAA thing, in case you wanted to ask," he said, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The NCAA earlier this month took away scholarships and put the school on four years' probation as part of the punishment for 61 athletes who took a music history class where test answers were provided and other prohibited help was received.

Bowden could also lose 14 wins from the 2006 and 2007 seasons when players who took the class played. More than two dozen football players were suspended for four games after the school discovered the cheating.

"I feel for Coach Bowden," said Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who earned his undergraduate degree at Florida State. "I doubt that he had any knowledge what was happening with some of those students. I think it would be just, especially for Coach Bowden, for that to be changed."

Bowden has 382 wins, just one less than Penn State's Joe Paterno -- the all-time leader in major-college coaching wins.

After learning of the cheating, Florida State reported it to NCAA officials and began its own investigation to identify which athletes were involved.

"I think the NCAA ought to give some hard thought to why would you self-report if they come back and you're penalized so harshly?" Smith asked. "Schools should be encouraged to self-report as we did.

"Florida State did the right thing," said Smith, a lawyer who served two terms as Florida's attorney general. "We self-reported, stood up and were counted."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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