Winston adviser says Florida State is self-serving

Associated Press

Tallahassee, Fla. — The adviser for the family of Jameis Winston has asked Florida State why it has chosen now to engage in the Title IX process and accuses the school of trying to protect its own interests and responding to media pressure, according to a letter obtained Tuesday by the Associated Press.

Florida State officials announced last week they will use an independent official in a student code of conduct hearing.

A female student said Winston sexually assaulted her in December 2012.

Attorney David Cornwell notes in a letter that university and federal policy requires a timely investigation. He asks university officials why Florida State has ignored those guidelines and writes Winston deserves a prompt explanation.

Winston never was arrested and Florida State Attorney Willie Meggs declined to press charges against Winston last December because of a lack of evidence.

The AP does not identify people who say they are victims of sexual abuse.

No date has been set for the university hearing. Florida State has notified Winston the hearing will be held to determine if four sections of the code of conduct have been violated, two for sexual misconduct, two for endangerment. The quarterback has five class days from last Friday to respond to the university. Cornwell said his letter is not a response to the charges.

Florida State spokeswoman Browning Brooks on Tuesday declined comment beyond what the university released in its timeline last week.

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher has said recent media reports about the investigation haven't revealed any new facts. He doesn't expect the reigning Heisman winner to miss any games this season because of this case. Florida State hosts Notre Dame on Saturday night.

"This country is based off being innocent until proven guilty, not guilty till you're proven innocent," Fisher said. "There is no victim because there was no crime."

While this is going on, the school is also dealing with reports several hundred items autographed by Winston were authenticated by the same company which authenticated Georgia tailback Todd Gurley's signature on several hundred items. Georgia suspended Gurley.

"Kids sign things all the time," Fisher said after last Saturday's game. "So, what do you want them to do, stop signing stuff?

"We could make them not have any fans from that standpoint and not sign for anybody. That's what it's going to come to, and that's a shame for college football, that somebody exploits a kid. Now, if they're getting paid for it, then I don't have any knowledge of that. I don't believe Jameis did."

SEC's Slive to retire

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive will retire next summer after 13 years leading the conference and plans to begin treatment for a recurrence of prostate cancer.

Slive, 74, says his retirement will take effect July 31.

Slive took over the conference in 2002.

Vanderbilt chancellor Nick Zeppos says the SEC will begin a search for a successor. The conference says Slive will become a consultant to the SEC.

Gurley practices

Gurley practiced with the 10th-ranked Bulldogs, as though everything is normal.

But coach Mark Richt has no idea when — or if — his star running back will be able to play another game.

Gurley was suspended indefinitely last week while school officials investigate possible violations of NCAA rules.

The running back reportedly signed several hundred items that were authenticated bvy a memoribilia dealer.