FSU responds to the NCAA's NOA

Florida State University today released its 80-page response to the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Notice of Allegations, which contained no new allegations of rules violations beyond what the university "self reported" in February.

"We are pleased that the NCAA found no new allegations after completing its on-campus investigation," said FSU President T.K. Wetherell. "We believe that ours was a thorough and exhaustive inquiry, including extensive examinations of computer records and files to search for any evidence of impropriety regarding NCAA or university rules."

Because the notice of allegations contained no new allegations beyond what the university self-reported in February, the university's response focuses more thoroughly on the details of those violations and sets forth an expanded list of punitive actions and corrective measures it has taken or will take.

The university's response notes that — to one degree or another — nearly all the actions of the 61 student-athletes' involved in rules violations were related to online tests for a single online course that first became "contaminated," meaning its academic integrity had been compromised, in the fall semester of 2006.

The case also involved three former university Athletics Academic Support Services (AASS) staff members who — in one manner or another — gave improper assistance to the student-athletes. According to the university's response, "There is no evidence that the university's coaches were involved in any aspect of the NCAA violations."

Ultimately, the university voided all grades given to all student-athletes in the contaminated course and required those with remaining eligibility who took the online course during the semesters in question to retake the course for a new grade during the spring of 2008. At the conclusion of the university's initial inquiry, 22 students had come forward, but FSU administrators' extensive search of computer files and records led them to believe that some student-athletes were not forthcoming regarding their involvement. FSU administrators also were concerned that the reinstatement penalties were becoming unequal and unfair for student-athletes who admitted to varying degrees of impropriety.

After a series of discussions with NCAA staff about the university's concerns, FSU administrators met with NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement and Enforcement staff at the association's headquarters in Indianapolis. As a result, the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff agreed to view the case on a collective, rather than individual, basis and imposed a 30-percent loss of eligibility for one season in their sport for all studentathletes who came forward in a timely fashion to admit being the recipients of improper assistance. Those 30-percent losses of eligibility have been or will be imposed. While there were no new allegations to respond to in the NCAA Notice of Allegations, the university administration's response detailed an expanded list of punitive actions and corrective measures, including:



-Requiring all student-athletes with remaining eligibility, regardless of the grade received, who were enrolled in the course during the semesters in question, to retake the course for a new grade;

-Instituting significant changes in the format and structure of certain online courses;

-Implementing significant changes in the structure and processes of the Athletics Academic Support Services (AASS) unit;

-Contracting with an outside consultant to conduct a review of the AASS unit;

-Reviewing all online courses and requiring that all exams be taken in a proctor setting;

-Examining and modifying the university's systems for monitoring academic course work taken by student-athletes;

-Making (and continuing to make) personnel changes within the athletics department;

-Imposing grant cuts in 10 sports; and

-Reallocating funds from the athletics department to the AASS unit. The university's response has been sent to the NCAA for review, and a hearing on the matter is scheduled for Oct. 18.



Summary of FSU's Response


To the NCAA Notice of Allegations In submitting this response to the Notice of Allegations (NOA), Florida State University (hereinafter "University") acknowledges the violations contained in the NOA.

This introductory statement is submitted to place the case in context. Other sections of this introduction and of the report will provide greater detail. This is a serious case and in no way does the University wish to minimize its significance. Rather, the introductory statement is provided to offer a general understanding of the case.

The University's inquiry began as a result of a single student-athlete reporting a questionable incident to a staff member. The University's administration took action at this first hint of impropriety and immediately began a thorough and exhaustive inquiry, including extensive examinations of computer records and files to search for any evidence of impropriety regarding NCAA or university rules.

Ultimately, the inquiry led to information about some irregularities with an online course. It also revealed multiple variables concerning the degree to which the student-athletes were involved in improprieties. Nearly all of the involved student-athletes' actions were related to online tests for a single online course that became "contaminated," meaning its academic integrity had been compromised, in the fall semester of 2006, and that the course remained contaminated in the spring and summer semesters of 2007. The student-athletes' actions (or reactions) ranged from:





Summary of Corrective and Punitive Actions:
1. Required all student-athletes with remaining eligibility, regardless of the grade received, who were enrolled in the course during the three semesters in question to retake the course for a new grade;
2. Instituted significant changes in the format and structure of certain online courses;
3. Implemented significant changes in the structure and processes of the Athletics Academic Support Services (AASS) unit;
4. Contracted with an outside consultant to conduct a review of the AASS unit;
5. Reviewed all online courses and required that all exams be taken in a proctor setting;
6. Examined and modified the institution's systems for monitoring academic coursework taken by student-athletes;
8. Made (and will continue to make) personnel changes within the Athletics Department;
9. Imposed grant cuts in 10 sports, and
10. Reallocated funds from the Athletics Department to the AASS Unit.

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