Can Florida State escape shadow of Jameis Winston investigations?

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SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) – The question has to be asked at this point: Will Jameis Winston finish the season on the field for Florida State?

Friday marked the worst news day for FSU football since it became public that Winston was accused of sexual assault 11 months ago. Fox Sports 1 and the New York Times painted a picture of football winning out over proper investigative procedures.

ESPN reported that the quarterback will face a disciplinary hearing, supposedly at some point after Saturday’s game against Notre Dame.

Winston could face four charges of student code misconduct according to ESPN. Two could involve sexual assault. Suspension or expulsion are possible outcomes.

ESPN also reported that FSU’s compliance department is investigating why a large amount of memorabilia signed by Winston was authenticated by a single company.

Big game week (Notre Dame), big turmoil for FSU.

Coach Jimbo Fisher would hear none of it on Monday. Asked directly his level of concern over whether his star would be on the field after Notre Dame he said, “None. I know the facts of the case. The facts haven’t changed the case. There’s nothing new that is out there. We have been through this.”

The fact that an expulsion or suspension is a possibility doesn’t concern you?

“Based on facts, no opinion,” he added. “We’ve got to be careful in today’s society to convict people in public before they’re actually due in court or anywhere. That’s happened in recent history.”

Fisher was seemingly referring to the recent developments at Florida regarding backup quarterback Treon Harris.

The difference being that Florida — unlike Florida State — suspended Harris immediately after a sexual assault accusation. Harris’ accuser later withdrew her complaint.

Last December, law enforcement authorities did not have enough evidence to bring charges against Winston. Almost two years after the incident involving Winston, a school, a player and a team — and an accuser — do not have closure.

The school is already under investigation for possible Title IX violations into how it handled the initial Winston accusations. SI.com legal expert Michael McCann went so far as to suggest it might be in Winston’s best interests right now to withdraw from school.

For one, it would remove him from the FSU disciplinary process.

The guilt standard applied to a student code of conduct or Title IX investigation is far less than that a legal investigation. Title IX is the 41-year old federal law that prohibits sex discrimination by institutions that receive federal funds.

“It’s the 50 percent standard,” for Title IX said Donna Lopiano, president of Sports Management Resources, a firm that consults with athletic departments.

“The question you ask yourself, ‘Is it more likely to have happened than not?’ Think of it as majority rules.”

That would be an administrative hearing with a much lower standard of guilt than a jury trial.

“Any student who creates a hostile environment by the way they treat someone of the opposite sex [is the standard],” Lopiano said. “So the institution must act immediately and separately. It cannot wait for the slow grind of a government police court action.”

That was the message of a 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter from the Office of Civil Rights. It reminded schools they must investigate right away in the event of a sexual assault accusation.

“These institutions are so hard-wired to keep bad news contained they have a hard time having outside experts come in and enhance their procedures.”

That came from former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, who now specializes in helping schools avoid scandal.

That alone is reason to be concerned if you’re a fan squarely focused between the lines. The swirl becomes much larger considering proper justice as it relates to a school and its reputation.

President Obama continues his administration’s push to fight sexual assault. There are 55 schools undergoing sexual violence investigations by the federal government. FSU is one of them.

“These institutions are now being labeled as dangerous for women,” said Lopiano, who was not speaking specifically of Florida State. “Their institutional brand is becoming suspect in terms of integrity. That’s what they can’t tolerate. That’s what is making them act right now.”

Already this season, Winston has been suspended for a game for misogynistic comments. His Heisman chances seem to be shot.

The situation has divided college football fans. When one CBSSports.com staffer placed Winston fifth on this week’s Heisman rankings, Twitter reacted negatively.

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