My question for Bobby is: who exactly is he fighting?
Is it the fans, the press, or the NCAA?
It really is difficult to comprehend why Bobby is being so defiant. I am trying to understand what he is talking about. Did FSU president T. K. Wetherell not tell Bobby that the University self-reported the academic fraud?
The NCAA—and I am clearly no fan of them—did not pick this fight. The University itself, by its lax monitoring, and the players through their cheating, are the ones who Bobby Bowden should be directing any anger toward. FSU must now prepare a report to the NCAA and then have the league determine if further sanctions should be levied against FSU. In the future, the University may be fighting the penalties the NCAA may levy, but I doubt if Bowden was talking about that.
I hope Bowden is not saying that the suspensions for the players were too harsh, and that they should be running stadium steps instead. It would be refreshing to hear him express—in no uncertain terms—his extreme disappointment with those players who cheated and lied.
While I am no admirer of Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer, Bowden should have expressed what Fulmer said when some of his players recently got into academic trouble. Said Fulmer, "In most of these cases, it was simply the student-athlete not being accountable and doing their work. " Bobby Bowden has not come close to saying that in regards to the FSU players who cheated.
If Bowden is reacting to those who say that he should retire, then that is another story. One can only wonder how tarnished his legacy has to get before he realizes that it may be time to hang it up for good...
It is time for Bowden and FSU to be candid and honest, and to fix the problems of their University instead of resorting to defiant language. Fights are not what this is about. This issue goes to the core of the integrity of a football program.
Bowden, as leader of the program, must set the ethical bar high—instead of using rhetoric that confuses and tends to exacerbate an already troubling situation.