Dumb and dumber at FSU

His program mired in an academic fraud scandal, Bobby Bowden isn’t doing himself any favors.

Making his first public comments about the NCAA ruling that could cost him several victories from the 2006 and 2007 seasons, Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden declared Wednesday that the punishment was “too stiff.”

“There are different degrees of doing something wrong,” said Bowden, 79, who finished last season one victory behind Penn State’s Joe Paterno (383-382) on the career wins list for major-college football. “You can go 5 miles over the speed limit. That’s one thing. Or you can go 50 miles over the speed limit, and that’s dangerous.

“It just seems like they’re killing a flea with a hammer.”

Some flea.

FSU turned itself in to the NCAA after a student-athlete reported widespread cheating in an online music class.

Because the case involved two staff members and a graduate assistant tutor, the NCAA Infractions Committee determined that the university should lose scholarships, serve four years’ probation and vacate victories in 10 sports, including football.

So we’ve got wide spread cheating involving two members of his staff and evidently it’s not that big a deal.

If you believe that, then you’ll certainly swallow this.

“The thing about it is that it is not about me, and that is all I really hear from commentators,” he said. “This is about all of our coaches and our teams. I think everyone is putting it on my wins. That is just part of it.”

Right.  That’s why the only thing the school is appealing is being stripped of the wins.

Sadly, Diddy’s not the worst actor in this mess.  That honor goes to school president T. K. Wetherell, who’s uttered one bizarre comment after another.  First, even though it’s not supposed to be about Bowden’s win record (wink, wink), Wetherell had this to say:

Like during his news conference Tuesday when he responded to a column I wrote recently questioning whether the 31 victories a young Bobby Bowden recorded at tiny Division I-AA Howard College (now Samford) should count in his Division I-A win total.

Wetherell referred to that early juncture of Bowden’s career as a time when he coached at a “dipstick (actually, he used an expletive that sounds sort of like dipstick) school.”

That’s beautiful.   But there’s more.

Wetherell wasn’t finished, though. Moments after referring to small, Baptist college as a “[dipstick] school,” he used an elaborate hypothetical story involving Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. The story was meant to illustrate Wetherell’s disdain for the way the NCAA handled some aspects of its ruling regarding FSU’s academic fraud case.

“I mean, I figured out how to beat Florida,” Wetherell said.  “I told them the other day – I’ve got the deal, man. I got the deal. We’re going to send a graduate assistant down to write a [paper] for Tebow, and go ahead and turn it in.

“And then we’re not going to tell anybody, until about the 15th of August. And we’re going to say, Oh, by the way, look what happened. Urban [Meyer] doesn’t know anything about this – he’s not involved. And the letter according to the NCAA – you think a violation occurred, not that it did occur, you think it occurred, you’ve got to sit him.

“Well, we’ve got the proof, we’ve the [paper], we’ve got the one he turned in, we’ve got the one the graduate assistant [did]. He violated the rules. He’s ineligible … now, they can redshirt him next year, and they may need to do that because they’re going to need a quarterback, anyway, in two years and that may not be a bad idea. But – that’s just not right. I mean, it’s just not right. That’s what’s the problem – it’s just flat wrong.”

This guy is the president of a major university?  What’s wrong with this picture?

Academic fraud is a fundamental violation of a school’s primary mission.  I can’t think of anything more serious for a university president to have to deal with.  Instead of coming off as being properly concerned about the magnitude of the problem, Wetherell reveals himself to be in the grand tradition of former University of Oklahoma president George Gross, who once uttered the immortal phrase, ”We want to build a university our football team can be proud of.”


Filed under Academics? Academics., Bobby Bowden: Over His Dead Body, Crime and Punishment, The NCAA

12 responses to “Dumb and dumber at FSU

  1. Spectacular ending to another tremendous post. I have FSU friends I’m gonna call today to see how embarassed they are. TK is actually smarmier than Diddy…..nice.


  2. Joe

    Ashes to ashes…Fsu is a women’s school in South Georgia.

    Somehow they figured out along the way that lax academic standards and the recruiting allure of FAMU could turn them into a powerhouse. And Bobby got his wins and they dominated the Independent and later, the football inept ACC.

    Now they are returning to where they belong. A nobody, nothing school with a football program that is irrellevant.

    They have literally swallowed themselves whole by letting Bobby be THE UNIVERSITY and hiring a boob as president, who was given the job largely because he was a player for Bowden.

    Good riddance.


    • The Realist

      Penn State was an independent right up until 1993, so I hardly see how that is an issue. Bowden built that program from scratch, and he did so by playing the big names and by winning bowl games. He also played Miami and Florida every year when he joined that joke of a conference. Whether you like him or not, he has proven to be a great coach. Disciplinarian? Not so much.

      Too, be careful about throwing that “lax academic standards” stone in your glass house. Unless you are an Ivy Leaguer, your program has skirted the academic necessity of college football to allow an elite athlete suit up in your team colors. Guaranteed.


    • SLH

      This is perhaps the most ignorant post I have ever read on this board.


  3. SLH

    Remember – we need a strong FSU to offset FL. So relishing in their problems doesn’t benefit us at all. You can post about it all you want, but I don’t consider FSU an enemy of UGA. I do, however, consider FL our biggest enemy.

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend.


  4. bobafet7

    I agree with the realist and SLH and besides “They deed, but there good keeds.”


    • The Realist


      It’s “They Deeyud, they deeyud, but thay’re good keeyuds.”

      Your enunciation is slightly off. There are two syllables in did & kid.


  5. Ben W

    Shit. This is my alma mater. Makes us look so rediculous.


  6. cookinandsmilin

    Senator, I respectfully disagree, regarding this comment in your post:

    “Right. That’s why the only thing the school is appealing is being stripped of the wins.”

    The “wins” are the only thing that they COULD try to appeal… and it isn’t “just” for Diddy, as you surmise, but for the starting pitcher of the game against _____, all the records for the kids that won games, THAT WERE NOT INVOLVED in the cheating… The NCAA should not take away from them… the proverbial *few* bad apples ruining the barrel, if you will…

    Yes, FSU screwed up… Yes, they should be punished… However, as you noted on this blog, there is a precedent for the offending school to NOT sacrafice games won during the time of the cheating…

    Even at a clown school…


    • Technically, I suppose you’re correct about the appeal. However, that’s because all the heavy lifting was done preliminarily. FSU isn’t banned from any postseason events and is taking a very mild hit in scholarships.

      As for the few bad apples argument

      The Seminoles got slapped with light penalties for what even the NCAA described as one of the most “egregious” cases of academic fraud by a member institution. Let’s underline this again: Florida State had 61 athletes cheat. In 10 sports. With three university academic-support employees — the people entrusted most with integrity and honesty — helping them do it.

      Let’s recall that there was a three-ring binder in the academic support center with all the answers to this music course — answers collected over multiple semesters so that all possible answers would be accessible for said cheaters, according to the NCAA. Let’s recall that 25 football players — about a quarter of the team — participated in said cheating, according to the NCAA.

      And let’s recall that Florida State AGREED TO ALL THESE FINDINGS.

      I have to say that I have a hard time believing anyone in the athletic department who claims not to have had a clue this was going on.


  7. Macallanlover

    This whole Bowden/Paterno chase for immortality is distasteful. Paterno seems to be the sharper of the two and has done a nice job of delegating to his staff, but both have hurt their schools and their reputation. Sad to watch, and you have to blame the administrations and fans for allowing it to happen. I know no one wants to push a legend out the door, but there are private ways to handle this and someone didn’t step up.

    I have a lot of repect for Paterno, but many of his wins as an independent were against garbage teams so there can be quality questions regarding both coaches, imo. Bowden has the early wins at Samford, but his victories on the road during FSU’s start-up were very impressive.

    I agree with you Senator, Wetherell is the biggest loser in all this. His statements are particularly embarrassing.


  8. Aligator