Bobby Bowden and Florida State still don't know the fate of the 14 victories in question regarding the celebrated academic fraud case.
The process is still ongoing -- and complicated -- judging from a cryptically worded release from Florida State on Tuesday. We were led to believe that a decision from the appeals committee might come down today. Turns out that even some at FSU were surprised that we are essentially still in the middle of the process.
Florida State is appealing the loss of wins in several sports -- including up to 14 in football -- the result of NCAA penalties handed down in March. The NCAA acknowledged Tuesday only that the appeals committee has received its response from the NCAA infractions committee. That starts a clock that now gives Florida State 15 days (until June 17) to file a rebuttal to the response. Then there are 10 days for the NCAA to respond back to FSU.
The school already has requested an in-person hearing with the appeals committee after those two steps are completed. Florida State has said it will make its rebuttal public when it is filed.
It can only be assumed that the infractions committee did not have a favorable response to the appeal.
"If that was the case, (we) probably would have heard something," said a person close to the process.
The school is doggedly fighting the NCAA penalties because of Bowden's legacy. The loss of 14 victories would stain the program and virtually end the neck-and-neck race between Bowden and Penn State's Joe Paterno for the all-time victories record. Paterno is currently No. 1 in Division I-A with 383 wins, one ahead of Bowden.
The information filed Tuesday is not public. Instead it was posted on a "secure NCAA custodial website" to be viewed only by Florida State lawyers, officials, its consultants and NCAA personnel. No one, anywhere, is talking at this point.
FSU retained the services of The Compliance Group in Lenexa, Kan. to guide it through the case. A letter from appeals committee chair Noel Ragsdale to The Compliance Group's Stacey Karpinnski on Tuesday acknowledged the committee's receipt of the infractions committee's response. FSU president T.K. Wetherell and athletic director Randy Spetman are among those copied on the letter.
Ragsdale is listed as a clinical professor of law at USC. Ironically, Karpinski is listed on The Compliance Group website as having a law degree from FSU. Neither could be reached for comment.
According to the NCAA website, the appeals committee's decision is final after the in-person hearing. That decision is reached by majority vote of the committee members attending the meetings. There are currently five members on the committee.
Also according to the website, the committee will "reverse or modify a ruling (by the infractions committee) only if the individual or institution can show one or more of the following grounds:
1. That the ruling was clearly contrary to the evidence;
2. That the individual's or institution's actions did not constitute an infraction of NCAA rules;
3. There was a procedural error and but for the error, the Committee on Infractions would not have made the finding of violation; or
4. The penalty assessed was excessive such that its imposition constitutes an abuse of discretion."
The appeals committee has been more open to overturning penalties in recent to the consternation of certain infractions committee members.
In 2008, former infractions committee chairman Gene Marsh of Alabama said: "If folks really are interested in righting the wrong of winning games, because you won while you were cheating, vacation (of victories) seems to be a logical thing to do."
Earlier this year, Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen told CBSSports.com he agreed with the original FSU penalties.