March 06, 2009
If you recall the 2007 Music City Bowl at all, it's probably only for the fact that a couple dozen Florida State players were suspended from the game for their involvement in a cheating scandal surrounding a, uh, online music course. (It's just "Schubert," guys. All the answers are "Schubert.") If you thought the single greatest act of one-game attrition in modern memory cleansed FSU of its sins, though, brace yourself: More than a year later, the St. Petersburg Times says the NCAA's ruling finally drops this afternoon -- and it's coming down like a hammer (emphasis mine):
Florida State faces vacating wins in multiple sports, including football, the NCAA has ruled in the case involving a massive academic misconduct scandal that has rocked the entire athletic department, the St. Petersburg Times has learned.
In a report set to be released this afternoon, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions said that the school must vacate all wins in which 61 student-athletes in 10 sports -- football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s track and field, baseball, softball and men’s golf -- competed while ineligible during 2006 and 2007.
The exact damage won't be known for a few hours, but at stake is the 2007 men's outdoor track and field championship, among other victories. The most immediate consequence on the football side of things, though, is that Bobby Bowden can never retire, lest he be doomed to No. 2 forever. Bowden currently stands one victory behind Joe Paterno on the all-time I-A list, 383 wins to 382; FSU won 14 games in 2006 and 2007, and all are at risk of being vacated (not forfeited, mind you; no losses will turn into wins for the 'Noles' victims). If that gap widens by even five or six games, Bobby has no dadgum hope of catching JoePa by the time coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher is scheduled to assume Bowden's chair after the 2010 season. This is not generally the sort of thing they apply asterisks for.
Updates to follow as warranted, of course.