Monday, September 22, 2003
School: QB 'needs to be an example'
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State quarterback Chris Rix used an unauthorized handicap parking tag on campus, and paid a $100 fine after fellow students told police.
Students recognized Rix as he parked his sports utility vehicle
near one of his classes last Thursday, and chastised him as he
walked away. They then left a note on his windshield and called
police, who put a lock on a tire so the vehicle couldn't be moved,
school officials said.
Rix said after practice Monday night that the handicap tag
belongs to a family friend he occasionally helps gets medicine. He
said he drove her to the hospital Thursday morning, then parked in
the handicap spot because he was running late for class.
"There were four handicapped spots. I thought I'd be OK for an
hour," Rix said. "I definitely made a mistake. ... I definitely
regret it and shouldn't have parked there."
Rix said coach Bobby Bowden has been making him run extra each
morning this week as punishment.
Quarterbacks coach Daryl Dickey said Rix would start Saturday at Duke.
School administrators didn't seem as eager to overlook the ticket.
"He needs to be an example to students and ballplayers and a proud representative of this university's reputation," said Lee Hinkle, vice president for university relations. "Actions such as
those he took last week don't do that."
The unauthorized use of handicapped parking passes turned into a
scandal at UCLA five years ago and led to misdemeanor charges for
several players, including star quarterback Cade McNown, and
two-game suspensions for 10 players.
In 1999, 19 UCLA football players pleaded no contest to
illegally using disabled driver placards to park in handicapped
Rix, who has led Florida State to a 4-0 record and a No. 6
ranking in both the ESPN/USA Today coaches' and AP media polls, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Rix passed for a career-high 394 yards in Saturday's 47-7 win
This is just the latest off-the-field problem for Rix, a
redshirt junior from Santa Margarita, Calif. Last year, he was
suspended for Florida State's Sugar Bowl game for sleeping through
a final exam.
Last season, he was benched after the Notre Dame loss, in part
for being late for team meetings and for poor class attendance.
Rix, who has his own Web site as well as No. 16 monograms on the
side of his SUV, blamed last year's behavior on personal
University President T.K. Wetherell met with Rix just before the
start of classes to emphasize the importance of his off-field
Hinkle said Monday the school wants to treat its athletes the
same as any other student. "We are trying as best we can to do the
right thing by these kids," she said.