Fisher, FSU Respond to Winston 2012 Sexual Assault Allegations

Oct 13, 2014

Florida State University defended itself in a statement responding to a New York Times Article Friday.
Credit marsmettn / flickr.com

Update 5:00 p.m.: Florida State University head coach Jimbo Fisher is defending Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston. Fisher's words come as FSU prepares to hold a disciplinary hearing on whether Winston violated the student code of conduct based on 2012 sexual assault allegations against him.

If found guilty of violating the Student Code of Conduct, Winston could be suspended or even expelled. During a press conference Monday, Head Coach Jimbo Fisher gave blunt answers in an exchange with CBS college football reporter Dennis Dodd.

Dodd: “What level of concern do you have that he will be on the field for the remainder of the season?”

Fisher: “None.”

Dodd: “Why?”

Fisher: “I know the facts of the case. The facts haven’t changed in the case. We know the report, we know everything that’s out there. There’s nothing new that’s been out there. We’ve been through this.”

Fisher also criticized reporters for what he thinks is biased reporting.

“So I think we need to be more responsible in our reporting and our opinions, and base the facts and not write articles that are half true and not all-the-way true, and put things out there that are truthful before we ruin someone’s career, based on facts and not everyone’s opinion and what they think it is," he said.

A retired Supreme Court justice will oversee Winston’s hearing. An information session will precede the hearing, but FSU says it will be "expeditious" in its scheduling.

The hearing is coming more than twenty months after the original allegation and is fueling debate over whether schools can handle sexual assault investigations. 

“I think one of the issues this is raising is a question some of us have been pondering for some time, if college discipline systems can effectively manage issues of this type when they lack personal jurisdiction over someone that’s been accused in some way or whether there’s facts that might suggest there’s been a violation of a disciplinary code?” says Stetson University law professor Peter Lake.

Lake thinks Winston will be carefully watched. He says Winston could cooperate with the hearing or possibly withdraw from the school to avoid consequences.

-

Florida State University announced star quarterback Jameis Winston will be brought before a university disciplinary body in a hearing on allegations of sexual assault, over 20 months since they surfaced in 2012. The disciplinary body will determine if Winston violated FSU's Student Code of Conduct and, if he did violate it, what consequence that would warrant.

The hearing comes in the wake of FSU’s response to a New York Times article from last week accusing the school of mishandling and delaying an investigation into the case against Winston. FSU defended itself in a public response on its website:

"Florida State University has maintained a deliberate silence about how we have handled the sexual assault allegation made against a prominent athlete. The University has remained silent for one reason: To protect our students", the school says.

The school remains firm on its stance that the media continues supply false information. The document also listed a detailed timeline of actions taken in response to the allegation in 2012.

A date has not yet been determined for Winston's hearing.

The school is currently under investigation by the US Department of Education for possible violations in its handling of the case.

Check back later on for more on this story.