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FSU Athletes Plagiarized, Received Preferential Treatment, According to NY Times

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 24:  Detailed view of the Florida State Seminoles logo during a game against the Florida Gators at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 24, 2012 in Tallahassee, Florida.  Florida would win the game 37-26.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

According to a report by Mike McIntire of the New York Times released Friday, some Florida State football players are alleged to have plagiarized and received preferential treatment as part of an online class in 2013.

FSU went on to win the national championship that season, and several key players on that team took online hospitality courses on coffee, tea and wine run by Mark Bonn and assisted by Christina Suggs.

The Orlando Sentinel provided a statement from FSU regarding the allegations:

Orlando Sentinel-FSU @osfsu

A statement from @floridastate regarding @nytimes story on @FSUFootball and academics: No NCAA violations found about class in question. https://t.co/dGqWxmMFkd

The since-deceased Suggs filed a complaint in 2013 saying Bonn pressured her to give Florida State football players passing grades, ignore plagiarism and extend deadlines despite other students not getting the same courtesy.

Specifically, Suggs said former Seminoles running back James Wilder Jr. emailed Bonn saying he needed a B in the class when he was on track to get nothing better than a D.

Bonn asked Suggs to "work with" Wilder, which Suggs felt was preferential treatment and Bonn showing favoritism toward athletes.

Wilder said he hadn't been given credit for work he turned in, which Suggs said was untrue. She also said she was told by Bonn to allow Wilder to submit missing sections from a final PowerPoint project despite it already having been graded and the deadline having passed.

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It was also alleged Wilder was allowed to turn in a completed version of the project despite several missed additional deadlines due to Suggs' concerns about potentially losing her job if she didn't comply.

Suggs said FSU football players Kelvin Benjamin, Timmy Jernigan, Tre' Jackson and Nick Waisome along with Wilder turned in plagiarized work that was accepted.

She also said Chris Casher was allowed to redo a plagiarized paper after Bonn explained to him the process of crediting information.

Bonn stepped down from his role in the distance learning program during the aftermath, and the university said in a statement that Suggs' complaint didn't contribute to its decision to change the way online courses are handled, per McIntire.

After the 2013 fall semester, Suggs was told she didn't have enough business school credits to retain her job as an assistant, but Suggs wrote an email to the inspector general saying she felt the situation involving Bonn and the football players contributed to her ouster.

FSU finished a perfect 14-0 that season and beat Auburn 34-31 in the BCS National Championship Game on the strength of a touchdown catch by Benjamin with 13 seconds remaining.

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