Florida State asks the NCAA to reduce and rescind penalties imposed on its football program

Fri, May 17, 2024

Florida State asks the NCAA to reduce and rescind penalties imposed on its football program

Florida State has asked the NCAA to reduce and rescind penalties imposed on its football program for NIL-related recruiting violations after the sanctioning body halted investigations into booster-backed collectives.

FSU's legal counsel sent a three-page letter to Kay Norton, chairperson of the Division I Committee on Infractions, and requested the committee amend its decision. The letter, dated April 24 and shared with The Associated Press on Friday, referred to NIL-related cases involving Tennessee and Florida.

"The university is now disadvantaged by its cooperations and affirmative steps to expedite resolution of the case," the letter read. "Similar or more egregious violations involving prospective student-athletes and other institutions' collectives/boosters occurred during the same time period as the violations in the FSU case and some of those violations were being actively investigated and processed.

"Those institutions stand to benefit from the 'pause' in the enforcement of shifting NCAA Policy and related legislation - including the postponement of corresponding penalties or, potentially, the complete dissolution of an infractions case - because those investigations began at a later date, were more complex, and/or those institutions elected to obfuscate or prolong an investigation."

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Attorneys argued that the scope of the preliminary injunction as it applies to "enforcement" is unclear and said the NCAA has "provided scant guidance to the membership on that topic other than to advise that it is pausing current enforcement investigations."

"FSU cannot be the only institution penalized simply because it was first in the queue, the violations for which it is responsible were more limited, and it cooperated fully to resolve its case," the letter read.

The penalties are the result of a rule-breaking incident that happened in April 2022, when an assistant coach drove a prospective student-athlete to a meeting with a booster. That was considered impermissible contact.

FSU agreed to two years of probation, a three-game suspension for the assistant - offensive coordinator Alex Atkins - recruiting restrictions, a loss of scholarships and a fine equaling $5,000 plus 1% on the football program's budget.

The Seminoles now want the penalties reduced. They believe they should not be fined the 1%, should not be docked a total of five scholarships over the next two academic years and should not face any recruiting restrictions.

FSU said the COI "should deem certain penalties (or a degree of those penalties) unenforceable and unfair," the letter said.

The NCAA in March stopped investigations into booster-backed collectives or other third parties making NIL compensation deals with Division I athletes. It came a week after a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Tennessee and Virginia.

The antitrust suit challenged NCAA rules against recruiting inducements, saying they inhibit athletes' ability to cash in on their celebrity and fame.


AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll

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