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• Frosty the Snowman provided a chilly break from Florida’s warmer winter weather - Visiting up North was an experience that a Floridian could enjoy, but coming home to warmer weather makes one appreciate Florida. ...
• Women prisoners count their blessings on a tearful Thanksgiving at Lowell Prison - Visits on Thanksgiving were all too short at Lowell Prison where children were asking "Why can't I stay with Mommy?" Columnist Jack Strickland visits at Lowell and writes a riveting story about the emotions of the day as families got together all too briefly. He came away with both a feeling of sadness and of joy. ...
• “Souls to the Polls” march re-enacts history to inspire students at FAMU to vote in the election - FAMU students recreated history on Sunday with a march to the polls to demonstrate the importance of voting and to inspire students to vote in the national election. ...
• Florida women’s prison is nightmare as prisoners endure humiliation, poor medical care, rip-offs - Florida's major prison for women is an endless nightmare for those who have to endure the permanent psychological scarring that results from little privacy, no meaningful rehabilitation, general neglect of medical care by the prisons, and the rip-off of high prices for phone calls and items supplied by private contractors. ...
• Question is whether Adelson family was involved in Markel murder, and motives of the suspects - Questions remain unanswered about release of evidence and possible motives for murder - were suspects trying to extort money from Adelsons? ...
• Small explosion causes chaos at Florida A&M University - An explosion at the FAMU campus Thursday was actually a dishwasher catching fire. However it did cause a scare among faculty, staff and students at the Presidential Dining Hall. ...
• In a surprise appearance, Shaq has a ball inspiring neighborhood kids to dream big - A surprise visit by the former star basketball player to Gainesville and the police department brought out good feelings all around as kids got to play with superstar. ...
• ‘Cash register justice’ for the poor means no justice for many in Florida courts - Prosecutors now seek to extract fees from indigent defendents to help pay office costs, causing possible miscarriage of justice, says national justice center. ...
• If Jeb Bush ever really went to prison in Florida, he wouldn’t get a happy reception - The disaster of corruption, privatized prisons, and loss of competent leadership in state prisons is Jeb Bush’s legacy in Florida. ...
• Court fails to convict police officer in NC shooting death of former FAMU football player - Family pleads for calm as jury fails to find officer guilty in shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell in Charlotte; no decision yet on retrial. ...
• Carson wins best dressed while Trump brings up the rear in the clash of haberdashery at GOP debate - Who was dressed to win the recent GOP debate? Who wore the most stunning tie, and the best cut suit? Looks like neurosurgeon Ben Carson knows how to dress. Donald Trump, who sells a line of clothing, ironically finishes last. ...
• FSU could receive NCAA sanctions similar to those of Penn State sex scandal - Recent events will add up to more problems for Florida State University when NCAA and Title IX investigators report their findings. ...
• Gators end Florida State’s baseball hopes in big wins in Gainesville; on to the Series - Getting back into the College World Series was a dream for both teams, but the Gators managed to teach Florida State a lesson or two. ...
• Miracle of heart transplant puts ‘inoperable’ Rachel, 10, back in the arms of her new family - The dramatic story of how 10-year-old Rachel McCary got her new heart and a new chance to live is told by Jack Strickland who watched closely at the hospital in Gainesville while a miracle was performed. ...
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FSU could receive NCAA sanctions similar to those of Penn State sex scandalJuly 12, 2015
By: By Jack Strickland
July has been a rough month for Florida State football. Two members of the team have been arrested in separate incidents and charged with misdemeanor battery. Both players are charged with striking women in the face with sufficient force to cause injury. The incidents occurred during the month of June in or around bars near the Florida State campus.
On Monday Coach Jimbo Fisher announced that freshman De’ Andre Johnson has been dismissed from the team after video from a bar went viral showing him strike a 21-year-old coed in the face in an apparent tussle over access to the bar.
On Friday Coach Fisher “suspended indefinitely” star running back Dalvin Cook after Leon County State Attorney Willie Meggs announced that charges have been filed against Cook.
Both players are presumed innocent until a court determines otherwise.
These latest arrests may be the tip of the iceberg of problems facing the Seminole Athletic Department. Florida State is currently under investigation by the NCAA and the federal government in the aftermath of previous allegations of a culture of abuse of women by the school’s football players.
People familiar with procedures governing Title IX and NCAA violations think FSU may be hammered with sanctions similar to those handed down against Penn State in its recent sex scandal. Under pressures from the scandal, the Penn State athletic department was virtually dismantled and the football coach and school president were eventually fired.
Florida State immediately took a proactive stance after the damaging Johnson video went viral. Florida State President John Thrasher issued a statement on Tuesday supporting Coach Fisher’s decision to dismiss Johnson. His statement said Johnson’s conduct was unacceptable and he expected “... student athletes to adhere to the highest level of conduct. I have no tolerance for the kind of behavior exhibited in this case. Florida State University was forged from an outstanding college for women and has a tradition of being a caring community that demands students be treated with dignity and respect.”
Coach Fisher announced that he is counseling and educating his players. He said steps will be taken to prevent similar infractions from occurring again. Among them is a new policy that requires Florida State football players to stay away from bars.
There is an old coaching axiom that teaches not to cripple your team by terminating players essential to your team’s top performance. According to the axiom, to maintain discipline a coach should kick off the team substitute players who violate team rules or embarrass the team. When stars commit the same offenses you give them a second chance.
That philosophy may be in play at Florida State this week. Freshman third stringer De’ Andre Johnson was kicked to the curb with his dismissal from the team. For the same offense, starter and key running back Dalvin Cook was given a second chance with an indefinite suspension.
Renowned Orlando Sentinel sports columnist Mike Bianchi asks the question, “Why is Dalvin Cook, another FSU player accused of hitting women, even on the team?”
In his highly acclaimed Saturday column, “Running Off At The Typewriter,” Bianchi details Cook’s brushes with the law that date back to his high school days. He suggests that Cook is treated differently because he is a star and there is no video showing his offense.
It should be noted that De’Andre Johnson, except for the unacceptable conduct in this instance, appears to be an upstanding student athlete. There is no indication he has been in trouble before. After the video surfaced he and his family embarked on a course of corrective action. They say he will receive counseling and will do community service at centers for battered women.
State Attorney Willie Meggs said Johnson has two choices: He can plead guilty or go to trial.
The Seminole football program is reeling this week in the wake of these two arrests. The real blow to Florida State may come when when the NCAA and Title IX investigators ultimately hand down their rulings.