In about fifteen minutes, at 8:00PM ET, Florida State’s football team will host Notre Dame’s football team. Each team is undefeated halfway through the season, so the hype has been tremendous. There’s an added dimension to it, because FSU’s quarterback, Jameis Winston, is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. The trouble is, he’s also a kid who appears to have a sense of entitlement as tall as the Empire State Building and he’s enrolled at an institution which seems to be happy to feed that entitlement. He’s been involved in several controversies, some more serious than others. He has been accused of sexual assault and had the charges dropped under questionable circumstances. He’s been stopped for carrying a BB gun on campus and shooting at squirrels. He’s been involved in several shoplifting incidents, including one for which he was sentenced to do 20 hours of community service. And he’s most recently been accused of selling his autograph, which would be a violation of NCAA rules.
In all of this Mr. Winston has been suspended for one game. The university administration has expressed its full support for the kid. I just heard an interview with his coach, Jimbo Fisher, and his willingness to believe the kid reminded me instantly of the famous Upton Sinclair quotation: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
By way of contrast, the U of Hawai’i just suspended its best running back for three games for a DUI arrest. The U of Georgia just suspended its star running back for possibly signing autographs for pay, the same violation Winston is accused of.
Ah, but not Florida State. No, as Christine Brennan of USA Today says, Florida State is :
a school that has put the need to win football games above all else, including an alleged rape, a Title IX violation and, pending an investigation, an NCAA rule that some schools still actually follow.