Seminoles aiming to keep victories

Updated: March 17, 2009, 5:46 PM ET
Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State will appeal part of an NCAA punishment that would strip the school of victories in 10 sports, including as many as 14 in football. The university president called the penalty "excessive and inappropriate."

Football coach Bobby Bowden has 382 career wins -- one fewer than Penn State's Joe Paterno, the major college leader. Have 14 victories subtracted from Bowden's official total could ruin his chances of retiring as the NCAA leader.

"The coaches had no involvement," Florida State president T.K. Wetherell said Tuesday. "To hold them responsible in this case is simply wrong."

The 79-year-old Bowden, who left town Tuesday morning for a speaking engagement, has not commented on the sanctions.

Wetherell said the university hired former administrative law judge Bill Williams of Tallahassee to represent Florida State in its appeal. Wetherell sent a letter Tuesday to NCAA president Myles Brand to advise him of the school's decision.

"The penalty requiring the university to vacate wins is excessive and inappropriate," Wetherell said. "Our case is compelling, it is so compelling you simply can't go in any other direction."

However, while the NCAA said Florida State should vacate all team and individual records for contests where the ineligible athletes competed, opponents would not benefit or be able to claim victory.

A former Seminoles football player, though he did not play for Bowden, Wetherell said it's unfair to more than 500 athletes and 52 coaches who were not involved in the cheating.

The school accepted the loss of scholarships in 10 sports and a four-year probation the NCAA announced March 6. That's in addition to stripping the school of victories in which any of the 61 athletes involved in the academic cheating may have participated.

The cheating occurred mainly through online testing for a single music history course in the fall of 2006 and the spring and summer semesters of 2007. It included staffers helping students on the test and in one case asking one athlete to take it for another.

Florida State lost to Kentucky in the 2007 Music City Bowl without two dozen players, including several starters, who had taken the class. Many of the same athletes were also held out of the first three games last fall as part of their punishment.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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