In Brief: An Academic Scandal Snags Florida State

Academic Scandal Snags Florida State

 TALLAHASSEE, Fla.

An academic cheating scandal could leave Florida State without as many as 25 players when the Seminoles go against Kentucky in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 31.

“We have some players not traveling for one reason and some for another, including those who are ineligible for the bowl because of academic issues,” coach Bobby Bowden said in a statement released by the university Tuesday.

Bowden put the number of players involved in the 25-player range. Many of the players could also be ruled ineligible for some games next season for their connection to the cheating scandal earlier this year.

Federal privacy laws prohibit the school from releasing names.

“We want to make sure that we have complete information, and that we have dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s,” said Lee Hinkle, vice president of university relations. “It is premature to say anything at this point.”

Bowden had previously not answered questions following the team’s practices on the scandal that resulted in one full-time academic adviser, Brenda Monk, and a student tutor losing their jobs this summer.

The university reported its findings in a letter to the NCAA in September after a six-month investigation by the school revealed at least 23 athletes in various sports were implicated for cheating on tests.

At least two Seminole football players already have been penalized for their involvement. Defensive end Kevin McNeill missed the season and wide receiver Joslin Shaw missed the first four games.

“Kentucky would be a tough opponent when we are at full strength so clearly this will make things more difficult,” Bowden said. “Our staff is in the process of determining what adjustments we must make for the game.”

Bowden said he would not use any players redshirted this season in the bowl game.

Police: Princeton Student Faked Attack, E-mail Threats

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J.

 A Princeton University student who argued that his conservative views were not accepted on the campus confessed to fabricating an assault and sending threatening e-mail messages to himself and some friends who shared his views, authorities said Monday.

Princeton Township police said Francisco Nava was not immediately charged with any crimes, but the investigation was continuing.

Detective Sgt. Ernie Silagyi said Nava has “some underlying personal issues.”

A spokeswoman for the Ivy League university also said that disciplinary action, which would range from a warning to expulsion, was pending Monday.

Authorities say Nava, a 23-year-old junior from Texas, gave himself some scrapes and scratches on Friday, then claimed to have been assaulted by two men off campus.

They also say he sent threatening e-mails, and reported to campus police that he received such threats, over the past few months. The e-mails threatened Nava and others for speaking out against topics such as gay marriage and the university’s distribution of free condoms.

A friend wrote a column published Friday in the campus newspaper asserting that university officials were not taking the threats against the socially conservative students seriously enough.

The friend, Brandon McGinley, said Monday that he feels duped by Nava.

“Everyone feels saddened, shocked and surprised to have been dragged along in this,” McGinley said. “We’re all extremely concerned for (his) mental state.”

University officials were also upset.

“The university takes all matters related to the safety of its community members very seriously,” said spokeswoman Lauren Robinson-Brown. “It’s particularly concerning that a student would fabricate such matters.”

Educators in Southwest Missouri Say College Students Unprepared

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.

Higher education leaders in southwest Missouri say freshmen in the region are increasingly unprepared to pass basic college-level courses.

A Springfield News-Leader newspaper examination of grades over the past several months found that in many cases, a majority of students can’t pass basic courses.

At Springfield-based Ozarks Technical Community College, 2,200 out of 3,000 incoming freshmen needed a remedial algebra class and another 1,200 needed help in English last year. Only 35 percent passed a remedial math class.

“It’s an epidemic,” said Ellen Newby-Hines, director of the academic achievement center at the community college that tutors students who need help in order to pass basic algebra, English and other classes.

At Missouri State University, as many as 29 percent of the students taking a basic algebra class over a three-semester span failed to score better than a D. Overall, 22 percent of the 2,200 students scored a D or F in basic math or English during that time.

“Students are just not prepared,” said Dr. Jim Kellerman, executive director of the Missouri Community College Association. He noted that the problem is prevalent across the state and the country.

Ozarks Technical Community College and Missouri State University have formed task forces to help students do better in basic algebra and English classes or to help students be more successful overall in their first year in college.

“We want to examine the best practices used across the country and who has the best programs,” said Dr. Randy Humphrey, vice president of academic affairs at the community college. “We want to glean what the ideas are and improve what we’re already doing.”

The state’s A+ program, which allows students to go to a community college for free if they meet certain requirements, has opened the doors to a lot more students who might not be prepared for college, said Kellerman, with the Missouri Community College Association.

“It was designed to improve the overall quality of education. Maybe not enough time has gone by to judge that. We’re finding a significant amount of students who are not prepared for math and English,” he said.

–Associated Press

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