JoePa Solidifies His Lead
Over his illustrious career, Joe Paterno has piled up more wins than any other Division 1-A coach. 383 to be exact. Perennially nipping at Joe’s heels over the years is the great Bobby Bowden of Florida State University. Both coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, two of just four active coaches to receive that honor. Bowden is currently sitting on 382 victories, just one behind for those that are arithmetically challenged.
Err. But might the competition be over? On March 6th, the NCAA signaled that they intended to sanction Florida State Athletics for various academic infractions in 2006 and 2007.
From the NCAA website:
The case involved academic fraud affecting more than 60 student-athletes across 10 sports, as well as impermissible benefits, unethical conduct by three former academic support services staff members, and a failure to monitor by the university…
… Penalties for the violations include four years of probation, scholarship reductions, vacation of records, and show-cause penalties for the former staff members.
[Ed. Note: Boldface added]
Vacation of records is no… vacation. Florida State Football stands to retroactively forfeit any game that academically ineligible players took part in. In total, this means that Coach Bowden may have fourteen games taken out of his win column. This would put him fifteen games behind Coach Paterno, effectively ending the competition between the two.
You might say, “It’s only fifteen games.” You’d be right, but Bowden caught up to Paterno in the Florida State glory years of the late 90’s, when Penn State was mediocre (Think Matt Seneca at QB, etc.) and all the best football seemed to be going on in Florida (see also: U. Miami). Currently, Florida State has returned to mediocrity while Penn State is playing on top of its game. (Miami sucks now, but, if you haven’t noticed, Florida is doing pretty well.). Fifteen games would be insurmountable at this point.
Florida State plans to appeal the ruling, but the NCAA is unlikely to change its mind.