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Now FSU waits for scandal fallout
"I don't like what we saw,'' the school president says.
By BRIAN LANDMAN, Times Staff Writer
Published September 28, 2007
Florida State receiver Joslin Shaw one of 23 student-athletes in nine sports involved in the academic scandal us unsure whether the NCAAwill allow him to play again for the Seminoles.
[Willie J. Allen, Jr. | Times (2006)]
Florida State receiver Joslin Shaw, one of 23 student-athletes in nine sports involved in an academic scandal that has rocked the school and cost two school employees their jobs, is trying to cope with the unknown.
He along with sophomore defensive end Kevin McNeil have been able to practice but have been withheld from competition as the school investigated the misconduct and sought their reinstatement.
"It's very frustrating, actually, but I know that things happen for a reason and I just press on every day like I am playing on Saturday," said the fifth-year senior from Plant City High.
He says he's "optimistic" his career isn't over and the NCAA could clear him at any time, perhaps in time for this weekend's game against Alabama, but he's uneasy and he's not alone.
"I don't like what we saw," FSU president T.K. Wetherell told the Associated Press on Thursday of the findings in a preliminary report released Wednesday that he sent to the NCAA along with a letter acknowledging violations. "My real concern is what I don't know at this point."
If more student-athletes actually received answers to online exams for one course from a tutor in the Office of Athletic Academic Support Services than the 23 who admitted to it. The school interviewed 129 student-athletes and 14 university employees.
If the tutor, a graduate student, and a Learning Specialist, Brenda Monk, were the only two university employees who - as investigators said - " perpetrated academic dishonesty." Both have resigned and the internal investigation said "We found no conclusive evidence of a more widespread pattern of similar behavior among employees" in the academic office.
Monk, 58, a Ph.D., who gave answers to a student-athlete for an online quiz so he could take the quiz for another student-athlete and also typed papers for five student-athletes, according to FSU's investigation, wasn't interested in shedding any light on her situation.
"I don't have any comment," she said repeatedly when contacted at her new job as principal at Chattahoochee Elementary by the Times on Thursday afternoon.
The other great unknown is what sanctions might be levied by the NCAA on the school. While numerous cases of academic fraud at other schools in recent years have resulted in harsh penalties (probation and a loss of scholarships) such as at USC and Georgia, a good number of those cases involved a member of the coaching staff acting improperly.
"We can't comment on an on-going situation," said Stacey Osburn, an associate director of public and media relations at the NCAA. "But there are a number of factors the committee on infractions looks at it in terms of penalties."
It might soften the blow that FSU's problems involved nine sports instead of one or two, which could have meant the misconduct provided more of a competitive advantage to a particular team. But before it gets that far, the NCAA will conduct its own investigation and, while FSU has talked to officials at both the NCAA and the ACC on the phone, the NCAA has not yet been on campus.
Times correspondent Jamey Givens contributed to this report.Brian Landman can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3347.