On the Warpath: NCAA Still Intends to Take Away FSU Victories

Josh McMullenCorrespondent IJune 21, 2009

28 Sep 1996: Head Coach Bobby Bowden of Florida State University during the Seminoles 13-0 win over the University of North Carolina at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida.

Even though head coach Bobby Bowden wasn’t involved in any way, the NCAA Infractions Committee still intends to take away as many as 14 wins from the venerable Florida State football coach, as well as  wins and championships in nine  other sports.

The penalty stems from a cheating incident in an online music course in 2006 and 2007, where it was alleged that 61 players either cheated or were given improper help by staff.

If the penalty sticks, not only will they lose wins and scholarships, they will also lose a national championship won in 2007 by the Seminole track and field team. The college does not dispute the loss of scholarships. 

For those of you that do not follow college football very closely, as it stands right now, Bowden is one win behind Penn State’s Joe Paterno as the sport’s all-time winningest coach. With the loss of 14 victories (if the penalty stands), it would be a pretty safe bet to say Paterno would win that battle.

The committee has said that they believe that doing this isn’t severe at all.

I beg to differ, however.

As Forida State president T.K. Wetherell said:

“There was no coach involved in this…The one group of people that were not involved in this thing were the coaches. They’re the one group that’s being penalized.”

How right he is.

Bowden is essentially being punished for doing the right thing. Before the 2007 Music City Bowl, as the whole incident was playing out, he suspended 24 players, including quite a few starters, for that game and the first three games of the 2008 season for the incident.

He essentially sacrficed tying Paterno to maintain his integrity. Now, the NCAA wants to punish him for doing that, and I really don’t think that’s fair.

I’m not defending what those athletes did; they deserved everything they got. But Bowden doesn’t deserve to be punished for maintaining his integrity.

It’s almost as pointless as the committee’s recent decision to put Alabama on probation for their athletes trying to help their friends who might not be able to afford textbooks (whether or not they could afford them, I don’t know, but still, those athletes may have been trying to help).

I admire the fact the NCAA infractions committee took action when they saw something was wrong, but this was the wrong way to go. It seems that this was an isolated incident, and at the very least, Bowden took the initiative and punished them.

The punishment seems way over the top, and, to look at an old saying, doesn’t fit the crime at all.

It isn’t fair, and whoever thought up this punishment should be ashamed of themselves. I understand that this committee have had a lot to deal with over the past few years, but this is going way too far.

Academics is important, but integrity, like Bowden showed when he learned that some of his players were involved, is something that cannot be learned at any level of school.

However, it’s something in which the infractions committee needs a hard lesson.

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