Florida State University is presently attached to Jameis Winston at the hip. Unfortunately for Florida State, this could lead to the NCAA’s invalidation of their entire season as a result of his possible transgressions, mostly stemming from an autograph for money scheme from a website that is currently tied to suspended Georgia running back Todd Gurly, who was suspended by Georgia as a direct result of similar allegations.
However, Florida State is standing by Winston, with head coach Jimbo Fisher stating that he will keep Winston as the starting quarterback for the foreseeable future, even as Winston deals with his disciplinary hearings from FSU, stemming from the sexual assault allegations two years ago and even as do you investigation into the autographs game continues to unravel.
Florida State is doing the wrong thing by standing by Jimas Winston right now. They need to suspend him right now, even if it is only for public-relations purposes, because ultimately it could result in the NCAA not coming down on Florida State nearly as hard as they would otherwise.
The precedent: the Penn State-Sandusky scandal did not result in the death penalty because Penn State fire Joe Paterno; PSU took corrective actions as the allegations continued to come to light.
Historically, the NCAA has not been kind to universities for scandals along these lines. The Reggie Bush scandal the struck USC hurt the program, damage which USC’s football program is still recovering from. Going back even further, they once even levied the Death Penalty on Southern Methodist in 1986.
However, the NCAA has proven to be weaker on several incidents in the past few years: the Penn State scandal was resolved largely because most of the punishments were retroactive, and more relevant to events preceding the then-in-place Penn State regime, with the NCAA going out of their way recently to effectively cancel the remaining punishments that would’ve hindered PSU over the next few year, presumably for good behavior.
What does this mean for Florida State? It means that either the NCAA will come down harshly on Florida State’s record this season, when all the details come out; or it’s entirely possible that the NCAA will give it a weak punishment that ultimately annoys fans of USC over to punishment they received several years ago while seemingly validating the idea that the NCAA is weak and not willing to take charges like to seriously anymore.
The NCAA could also come down very harshly on Florida State to reestablish themselves as the disciplinarians of collegiate sports and subsequently not only invalidate Winston’s entire tenure at Florida State but also debilitate the program over the course of the next several year, in keeping with tradition. This could result in the firing of Jimbo Fisher and many other people at Florida State, meaning that they might look back on what’s going on right now, and think of everything they would’ve done better, namely suspending Jameis Winston at this particular point in time.
Meanwhile, if I am Jameis Winston, and I have all this controversy surrounding me at Tallahassee, I’m thinking to myself that the best course of action is to get out of college football, and ideally out of the State of Florida, at the end of the season. The best course of action would be to get out of the college game to go to the NFL to see what he can get there. His name is tarnished whether or not people are willing to say it is, but there are those in the NFL who will take him on pure talent alone, especially teams that are in dire need for a quarterback. Winston does have the potential to be an amazing NFL quarterback, even though he is not the conventional type of quarterback that the NFL usually looks for.
If he worked hard, he could potentially be a successful quarterback, and overcome all of the issues that are plaguing him right now. His days at Florida State would not be remembered fondly, but would potentially be viewed as the prelude of a young’s man transition into a great professional career. The other advantage to this is that he would be able to escape not only the punishments that are headed down to Florida State, but also leave the legacy of his actions behind for next year’s team to deal with. While it is an unfair system, it is the system that is in place, and would potentially benefit Winston far more than anyone wants to admit. In the end, though, the ball is in Florida State’s court right now, and by leaving Jameis Winston in uniform, they might be undermining this season, and ending the tenure of more than one person overseeing the program now.