Florida State Answers Report Alleging Academic Favoritism - Higher Education
Higher Education News and Jobs

Florida State Answers Report Alleging Academic Favoritism

Email


by Joe Reedy, Associated Press


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State University once again finds itself answering allegations of academic fraud involving its football program.

The New York Times on Friday reported that six players on the 2013 National Championship team received special treatment in online courses. The university said in an email to The Associated Press that an independent investigation found no wrongdoing.

“Florida State University retained a leading law firm with a highly experienced collegiate sports practice to conduct an independent investigation of the course in question,” said university spokeswoman Amy Farnum-Patronis. “After a thorough examination of the facts, no NCAA violations were found. The course was subsequently modified for other reasons.”

The case is a major part of Mike McIntire’s book “Champions Way: Football, Florida, and the Lost Soul of College Sports,” which will be released on Tuesday.

Christina Suggs, a former teaching assistant and doctoral student, said in the book that she felt extra pressure to give breaks to student-athletes taking hospitality courses on coffee, tea and wine. Suggs provided evidence to the Florida State inspector general in August of 2013 before the case was taken over by university attorneys.

Suggs said she was pressured to raise the grade of former running back James Wilder Jr. McIntire also reported that Wilder and wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin plagiarized parts of a final project. Wilder was the most valuable player in the 2013 ACC Championship game, while Benjamin caught the winning touchdown pass in the 2014 BCS National Championship Game win over Auburn a month later.

Suggs’ contract was not renewed toward the end of 2013. She left the school and died accidentally from a toxic combination of prescription medicines following back surgery less than a year later. She was 48.

The university has been at the center of academic allegations before. The football program had 12 victories vacated in 2006 and ‘07 due to cheating in an online music course involving 61 student-athletes in 10 sports. The vacated wins meant that Bobby Bowden did not retire as the winningest coach in Division I history.

It is also not the first time the 2013 team has been under scrutiny. Quarterback Jameis Winston was accused of raping a student but was never charged. The university settled a Title IX lawsuit over its handling of the allegations with Winston’s accuser, Erica Kinsman, in January 2016 for $1.7 million.

The University of North Carolina is currently under an NCAA investigation involving African Studies courses.

RELATED ARTICLES >>
Study: What Do Arkansans Think of Medical Marijuana? LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences are conducting a study to gauge residents’ views of medical marijuana before and after it’s available in the state. Representatives from several colleges outsid...
Arizona School Gets Big Grant to Study Mine Safety Training The University of Arizona's public health college and its mineral resources institute will use a $1.6-million grant to help improve mine safety training. The federal grant, announced Monday, will be used to develop new training methods for mine wo...
State of the Union Address Omitted Key Concerns in Education, Experts Note President Donald Trump President Donald J. Trump delivered his first State of the Union address since taking office, calling the current era “our new American moment.” But he missed an opportunity for substantive conversation on the growing conce...
The Role of Analytics in Studying the Hiring of Black Coaches in College Football   In the dizzying merry-go-round that is the hiring of head coaches in college football, Willie Taggart is an island of one. He is the only Black head coach to serve four Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) major-college programs: Western K...
Semantic Tags: