Florida State University Athletic Director Randy Spetman said Tuesday that is looks like that the NCAA will finally hand down its verdict in the academic fraud scandal sometime after national signing day on Feb. 4.
“We think it’s any day, I guess I now believe it will be next week,” Spetman said following a meeting at the Governor’s Mansion with Gov. Charlie Crist.
Spetman conceded that FSU officials are ready to deal with the fallout from the incident. Nearly a year ago FSU turned in a report acknowledging that student athletes were provided improper assistance for an online course. FSU went before the NCAA last October.The university has already imposed sanctions on itself by voluntarily decreasing the number of scholarships it offers in sports.
“It wears on us, we’re ready to get on with it,” Spetman said. “We think the university has been totally transparent, we’re ready to move forward and go on.”
Spetman was part of a group of Florida sports officials who met to discuss the state’s sports industry with Crist, himself an avid Seminole and former high school quarterback.
Spetman’s suggestion to Crist was interesting: He urged the governor to keep the tuition costs for students as low as possible, noting that any increase in tuition is money that the FSU athletic department bears when it offers scholarships to students. The reason it’s an interesting statement is that FSU President T.K. Wetherell is among those backing an effort to give universities more leeway to raise tuition at a time that state lawmakers are slashing higher education budgets.
Several of the representatives of Florida’s $36 billion sports industry acknowledged that the souring economy has affected their operations somewhat, although some, such as Jeff Steranka, CEO of PGA of America, said business was “stable” at the current time. But many of those present did give their thoughts on how to keep Florida’s sports industry vibrant, including asking that the governor support ongoing financial incentives for the industry. Professional franchises in Florida, for example, receive sales tax rebates from the state.
— Kathy Milthorpe of International Speedway Corp., the entity that runs NASCAR, told Crist to keep taxes low.
–Several representatives urged that the state continue its support of the Florida Sports Foundation which hands out millions in grants to help bring various sporting events to town.
—Mark Jackson, president of the Grapefruit League, put in a brief pitch for the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex in Auburndale.