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USF: No online problems detected
A day after Ben Moffitt's wife alleges she did his classwork, he files for divorce.
By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer
Published January 5, 2008
BUSHNELL - An acrimonious divorce unfolded here Friday, an hour north of USF's campus, as the wife of senior linebacker Ben Moffitt was officially served papers for a dissolution of their five-year marriage. In Tampa, Shauna Moffitt's admission that she took online classes and wrote countless papers for her husband did little to change the university's position on academic integrity in online classrooms.
"When one student is alleged to have done something, it's not something that rises to an institutional level," USF spokesman Ken Gullette said. "If there was reason to suspect widespread abuse, it'd be looked at. ... The short answer is you have to trust, be watchful and impress to students that honesty and integrity are important."
USF's athletic department has declined to comment, with assistant athletic director Chris Freet saying the matter is an academic issue. Attorneys for the All-Big East player did not return phone calls Friday.
Florida State reacted swiftly recently to at least 50 student-athletes being part of a cheating scandal involving online classes. FSU has recommended requiring tests for such classes to be administered in a campus computer lab with photo ID required for entry and proctors in attendance.
USF has no such safeguards, though some online classes require students to take tests in person, Gullette said. He argued there is as much potential for cheating in a class with 110 students because a professor could have trouble identifying every test-taker as a student.
USF's student handbook states that "use of another student to take an exam" merits a suggested year's suspension from school, but any investigation must be initiated by the course's professor.
Shauna's allegations came Thursday as she made public the fact her husband, 23, left her and their two children, ages 5 and 3, on Nov.11 and has had limited contact with them since. The family's story had been told nationally for Moffitt's dedication in driving 55 miles daily each way to be with his family while juggling the busy schedule of a college athlete.
The 45-page divorce document also asked a Sumter County judge to issue an injunction against Shauna, keeping her from contacting her husband's "friends, coaches and athletic staff, acquaintances and family," saying she was "slandering him and greatly damaging his relationships." It accused her of "harassing and/or abusing" Moffitt, his family, friends, coaches and the media. A hearing is set for Jan.15 in Bushnell.
The document alleges Shauna did not give her husband "reasonable contact" with their children; her attorney, Erin Collins Cullaro of Tampa, said that statement is "not accurate."
Moffitt is projected as a midround pick in April's NFL draft, which would all but assure him an annual salary in the mid-six figures, but his divorce papers ask that Shauna, who works in the Sumter County Property Appraiser's Office, pay his attorney fees. He claims a monthly income of only $1,156 from a housing and food allowance from his athletic scholarship; the papers argue he cannot pay for his attorneys, which his wife is "well able to do."