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FSU president: Lack of oversight led to cheating scandal

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State's president attributed an
academic cheating scandal to a lack of oversight by athletic
department officials, an inattentive faculty member and a rogue
tutor.

T.K. Wetherell on Friday described the course in question, a
three-hour music history class, as "contaminated" and said
changes have been made.

Although Wetherell has said in the past that the recent
resignation of athletic director David Hart Jr. was not related to
the incident, his statement suggested otherwise.

"The violations focused on a poorly structured online course,
lack of attention to detail by a faculty member, and insufficient
oversight by the athletic department of one rogue tutor -- all
coming together to result in a 'contaminated' class," Wetherell
said in the statement.

Hart did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment
on Wetherell's criticism of his former department.

Wetherell, who has been vacationing in Montana since the
suspensions were announced Tuesday, said no coaches were involved
and that many of the athletes simply used poor judgment.

"The student-athletes, who come from a number of sports, did
not enroll in the course with the intent to do anything wrong," he
said. "However, a university-employed tutor provided inappropriate
help on exams. In the final analysis, these students made the
decision to use the answers provided for an online exam, and they
are suffering the consequences."

The school has suspended roughly two dozen football players,
including some starters, for its Dec. 31 game against Kentucky in
the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl at Nashville, Tenn. Two players, receiver
Joslin Shaw and defensive end Kevin McNeil, were suspended during
the season.

The players who won't travel to the bowl game will be identified
Saturday when the school announces its travel list.

"Our university found this problem," coach Bobby Bowden said
after Friday's practice. "It's not like I had anything to do with
this."

However, the St. Petersburg Times editorialized Friday that
"it's time for Bowden to retire." The paper praised his
accomplishments, but said the coach was "padding the career
victory total at the expense of a remarkable legacy and a dignified
exit. "

"It needs to be said with admiration and firmness," the Times
wrote. "Dadgummit, Bobby, it's time."

Bowden disagreed.

"It ain't time to cut and run," he said. "It won't erase what
has happened."

This is the school's second serious brush with the NCAA in as
many decades. The university received a five-year probation in 1994
after several of its players received free shoes and athletic gear
from a sporting goods store at a mall.

Wetherell, who played football for the Seminoles in the
mid-1960s, is trying to keep the school from having the NCAA
investigate lack of institutional control, a violation that often
leads to severe sanctions. Wetherell said the school expects to
have its report to NCAA officials early next year.

The NCAA wouldn't comment Friday on Florida State's
investigation because it hadn't received the school's final report.

"Each case is different and each case is looked at and acted on
a timeline based on its complexity and whatever else is involved,"
NCAA spokesman Bob Williams said.