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Tuesday, June 16, 2009
NCAA letter on FSU appeal coming

Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The NCAA is allowing Florida State to release a version of its letter to the school on a disciplinary case resulting from an academic cheating scandal, officials said Tuesday.

The school must first retype the report from a computer format and redact names, Florida State general counsel Betty Steffens said.

The letter details the NCAA's response to Florida State's appeal of sanctions resulting from the cheating. The school would be stripped of wins in 10 sports, including football. That would seriously hurt Bobby Bowden's bid to become college football's all-time winningest coach.

Several media outlets, including The Associated Press, sued the school and NCAA on Monday to release the report.

Florida State hadn't received the read-only version by late afternoon and hoped it could retype it and have its attorneys review for redactions, but wasn't sure when it would be available to the public.

Florida's attorney general was not satisfied with the NCAA's decision.

"It's a step in the right direction, but it's not sufficient," said Sandi Copes, spokeswoman for Attorney General Bill McCollum. "You have to provide an actual copy of the document or the document itself. They [NCAA] need to figure out a way to reproduce the document."

However, NCAA attorney Naima Stevenson repeated the NCAA claim Tuesday that it does not consider the response a public record.

McCollum wrote NCAA president Myles Brand last week and said the sports governing body must comply with Florida law or face criminal sanctions.

Copes said the attorney general was also reviewing the media's lawsuit and looking at ways to engage.

Bowden, who is preparing for his 34th season at Florida State, could possibly lose as many as 14 of his career wins if the penalty sticks. That would make it difficult, if not impossible, for Bowden to compete with Penn State's Joe Paterno in their race for most victories among major college coaches. Paterno begins the 2009 season with 383, one more than Bowden.

The school could also be stripped of its 2007 NCAA track championship.