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FSU DB arrested on solicitation charge

By BRIAN LANDMAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 29, 2000


Florida State star safety Derrick Gibson was arrested Thursday and charged with soliciting an undercover Tallahassee police officer for sex, ending what had been a relatively problem-free off-season for the defending national champion.

Gibson, 21, who had no criminal record in Florida, faces a second-degree misdemeanor, the lowest criminal offense, which is punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. Disciplinary action by FSU rests with coach Bobby Bowden and athletic director Dave Hart.

"It would be inappropriate and premature to comment at this time," FSU spokesman Rob Wilson said Friday.

The athletic department code on conduct states that "In the case of behavioral problems which involve formal criminal charges by a law enforcement agency, the involved student-athlete will be placed on suspension by the Department of Athletics until the facts of the incident are reviewed."

According to the police probable-cause affidavit, Gibson approached officer Joanna Baldwin at about 11 p.m. in a part of town targeted for a prostitution crackdown and asked her how much he would need to pay for oral sex.

"How much do you have?" she said.

He said he had $10, which was sitting on his car's center console.

Gibson then was arrested and given a notice to appear in Leon County Court on Sept. 5. Had he not been charged with a misdemeanor and possessed strong ties to the community, he would have have taken to jail, Tallahassee Police Department spokesman Kevin Bradshaw said.

Gibson, who had 73 tackles and shared the team lead with four interceptions, eschewed the NFL draft to return for his senior season. The Miami native generally is recognized as one of the nation's best at his position.

During the Atlantic Coast Conference football media function this week, Bowden said that this off-season had been "one of the best I've ever been through."

The only player to run afoul of the law was Sebastian Janikowski, who was arrested twice, most recently in June on a misdemeanor drug possession charge. Both incidents came after he left school and declared for the NFL draft.

"Not only were you coming off a great year, but we didn't have as many off-the-field complications as we've had in the past," Bowden said, mentioning in particular the maelstrom of controversy that followed the 1993 title.

He quickly added that he always is wary: "I don't ever feel like I'm ahead of it. Because if I do, I'll get back and somebody's been picked up for doing this or that."

More football

INDIANA: Coach Cam Cameron needed an assistant, so he hired his 73-year-old stepfather, Tom Harp, who coached in the 1960s and '70s at Cornell, Duke and Indiana State. Assistant Pete Schmidt stepped down late last season for treatment of lymphoma.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Juniors O'Rondai Cox, a defensive back, and Darion Hutcherson, a linebacker, were suspended for the fall for violating team rules.

Basketball

ARIZONA: Already the state's highest-paid public employee, coach Lute Olson received a $40,000-a-year raise in his three-year contract extension. Olson is signed through 2005 at $613,475 a year. His salary is paid from athletic department revenue.

DIVISION II TITLE SITE: The NCAA selected Rochester, Minn., as the site for the 2001 and 2002 Division II women's finals.

LAWSUIT THREAT MOVES NCAA: The Kansas treasurer's threat to sue the NCAA if it doesn't pay the $1.8-million he says is owed under state law prompted a quick promise of payment.

Less than an hour after treasurer Tim Shallenburger's news conference, the NCAA issued a statement saying it will comply, though it disputes how much is owed. Shallenburger said auditors inspected NCAA books from January until June. The auditors estimated $1,103,638 was owed to people living in Kansas and people with no known address. Shallenburger said he was imposing more than $700,000 in penalties and interest.

The NCAA says it owes less than $475,000, including interest. The treasurer said most of the money is for people who sent checks to the NCAA for Final Four tickets from 1985-95 but didn't get any in the annual drawing. Normally, the NCAA returns the money, but it couldn't find some people. Shallenburger said the NCAA must follow state law and turn the money over to his Unclaimed Property Division after five years rather than hold it.

- Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

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