Florida State Head Football Coach Bobby Bowden continues his fight against allegations that he knowingly played athletes who were not academically eligible. The penalty given by the NCAA would force Bowden and Florida State to forfeit fourteen total wins which would most likely prevent Bowden, who is near the end of his coaching career, from surpassing Joe Paterno, Head Football Coach at Penn State University, as the winningest football coach in NCAA history. Currently Bowden is only one win away from surpassing Joe Pa’s record, but Paterno continues to coach and adding wins to his record.
The majority of the cheating occurred in an online music history class where it is alleged that staffers helped students and even asking one athlete to take a test for another athlete. As part of the NCAA sanctions the University was stripped of scholarships in ten sports and was placed on probation for a four year period. Florida State is appealing the decision saying that forfeiting the games is too harsh.
I think this is a completely legit penalty. If players are not eligible and you put them in the game you shouldn't get the win. I’m sure it can be devastating to a team when a couple of key players can’t make the grades to stay on the field, but to continue to play them is a slap in the face to all the coaches that are doing the right thing and benching those players as they are required to do.
When it comes down to it there aren’t going to be many surprises when it comes to how well a player will do in their classes. Their academic record precedes them and coaches at all levels should be aware of any potential students who may struggle in class and get them the help they need to succeed in their studies.
As the head football coach you are going to be ultimately responsible for the actions of the entire team – players, coaches, etc. Just like with any business the person at the top has to answer for the mistakes of those below them. It is the responsibility of the person at the top to make sure that everyone under their supervision is doing the right things and not putting the team or university at risk.
Coach Bowden seems to think that since the incident was self reported then they should not have to forfeit the games. Just because you self report something does not mean you should be absolved from the consequences that may follow. If the cheating was self reported then that is admirable, but it does not give you a free pass to do whatever you want as long as you report it before the NCAA finds out.