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Florida Sate Puts Its Teams on Probation


Florida State’s sports teams will be on self-imposed probation for two years and some will lose scholarships because of an academic cheating scandal, the university said in a report released Thursday.

About 60 student-athletes also have or will suffer some loss of eligibility. Two staffers, a tutor and learning specialist, already had been fired. No additional dismissals were listed in the investigatory report.

The cheating occurred mainly through online testing for a single course in the fall of 2006 and the spring and summer semesters last year.

Florida State officials conducted the investigation with assistance from the NCAA, Atlantic Coast Conference and a consulting firm. The report has been sent to the NCAA, which can still conduct its own investigation and impose additional penalties.

Among the corrective actions listed in the report is a requirement for all athletics staff members to attend a four-hour training program titled “Decision-Making in the NCAA Compliance Environment.”

“We believe that our investigation has been thorough and exhaustive,” said Florida State provost Larry Abele, who chaired the investigating committee. “This university and its Athletics Department have accepted responsibility, made changes in the process and systems and imposed penalties as warranted.”

A school spokesman was not immediately able to explain how the probation, effective Wednesday, would affect the teams.

The NCAA’s Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff, though, has agreed to a 30 percent across-the-board loss of eligibility for students who came forward and admitted they received improper help with the test.

Some of the penalties already have gone into effect. About two dozen of the football team’s top players were suspended for the Music City Bowl on Dec. 31 in Nashville, Tenn., where the Seminoles lost to Kentucky. Many of those players will remain suspended for the first three games of the 2008 season.

The school also is making changes at five senior staff levels in the athletic department, though the report did not include details on the changes.

Former athletic director Dave Hart Jr. departed late last year with a year still left on his contract, but he denied it had anything to do with the cheating scandal. Last week, the school hired former Utah State athletic director Randy Spetman.

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