FSU Earned Their Wins; They Shouldn't Lose Them

The SportmeistersAnalyst IMarch 6, 2009

By Ryan of The Sportmeisters

Earlier, Florida State University learned that, in addition to four years probation and a reduction of scholarships, 10 different sports programs will have to forfeit games in which an ineligible player competed in 2006 and 2007.  While I agree there should be a high level of punishment due to the prominent size of the school and the incident, punishing the many for the actions of a few does not mean justice.

For those unfamiliar with the situation, 61 athletes over 10 programs had “improper assistance” from a learning specialist, an academic adviser, and a tutor. According to the NCAA, portions of papers for some athletes were done and answers to an online quiz were provided.  The programs involved are baseball, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s golf, and the football team.

2006 and 2007 were very good years for Florida State Athletics. The women’s swimming team won their first ACC Championship. Men’s track and field won two straight ACC and National Championships. Men’s swimming took home their first ACC Championship in 2007, and the baseball program won the Atlantic Division of the ACC. To possibly remove all those accomplishments for a few athletes' errors is unacceptable by the NCAA.

Doing some quick math, there are a combined 333 athletes within those 10 programs. Those ineligible few make up a sum total of 18 percent of the whole number.  The NCAA cannot possibly look to remove an inane number of victories and possibly championships for a fraction of the total number. 

The players on these program have worked and sacrificed from day one in their respective program, clawing and earning their way onto a premier division one program. For most of them, there is no further level, no other shot at success. They earned their one chance, and don’t deserve punishment for it.

It’s an honor to win a championship, and for programs earning their first ever (Men’s track and field, men’s and women’s swimming), that’s a historic honor they will forever remember and be canonized for. If one member each of men’s and women’s were part of the 61, do the other 22 deserve to lose the title they currently claim?

Now, I don’t condone cheating of any kind, and those who were wrong should give up any titles they earned, whether it be individual ones, or their championship rings. At the same time, I know the offending academic parties have been appropriately punished, and there should definitely be the probation and removal of scholarships.

However, too many put in too much effort for a few idiots to take it all away. Take away the scholarships, levy a fine, force community service, whatever. Leave the wins and the championships. They earned those.