Mt. Vernon Register-News

Z_CNHI News Service

December 3, 2013

Jameis Winston investigation clouds Heisman voting

The 12-game regular season once again won't provide clear answers as to the best teams in college football - nor will it settle who should win the Heisman Trophy.

On the field, No. 1 Florida State's quarterback Jameis Winston is outstanding. It’s an off-the-field criminal investigation that has Heisman voters wondering what to do with their ballots to pick the season's best player.

The person with the potential to be the biggest game-changer is Willie Meggs, the state attorney in Florida, who will determine whether to pursue criminal charges after investigating a sexual assault complaint involving Winston.

Should an indictment be handed up, Winston, in all likelihood, would be suspended from the team. Florida State policy states that student-athletes charged with a felony “will not be permitted to represent FSU Athletics in game competition until such time as the charge is resolved and all court, university and athletics department conditions for reinstatement have been met.”

Answers to the questions of when or if charges are forthcoming rest with Meggs - as they should.

On the sporting side of the discussion, things remain dicey. Heisman voters have until Dec. 9 to submit their ballots. Without some decision from Meggs or a grand jury, the question is whether suspicion surrounding Winston’s actions will be a factor in Heisman voting.

Furthermore, if Winston is suspended, should Florida State play for a national championship when the player who led the team to an undefeated regular season and probable Atlantic Coast Conference championship on the sidelines?

In fairness to Winston, even if he is charged, he still should be considered innocent until proven guilty. At the same time, seeing a person charged or even under suspicion of having committed a serious crime accept an honor like the Heisman Trophy on national television Dec. 14 is disconcerting.

So what’s a voter to do?

Adding to the dilemma is a situation where no other candidate has stepped up to challenge Winston as a serious Heisman contender.

Last year's winner, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, was poised to make a run as a repeat winner until the Aggies dropped back-to-back games to end the regular season.

Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron was moving into the favorite’s spot until Auburn all but ended the Crimson Tide’s dream of a third consecutive national championship in last weekend's Iron Bowl.

Boston College running back Andre Williams, who ranked first in the NCAA in rushing, saw his dreams squashed when he was injured in a loss to Syracuse, a game in which he picked up just 28 yards.

The uncertainty in Heisman voting parallels the larger question of who should play for a national championship on Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif.

Winston's Florida State and Ohio State are both undefeated, and they rank No. 1 and 2, respectively, in the most recent BCS standings. But arguments can be made that neither should play for a national championship.

Fans and pundits are still clearing their heads following the series of heart-stoppers on Rivalry Weekend. The conference championships next weekend may provide a little more clarity.

What to make of Florida State, for example, is open to debate.

People complain that Ohio State’s schedule was soft, which is true. But the Buckeyes' schedule ranked 61st compared to Florida State’s No. 66 in Jeff Sagarin’s computerized rankings. The Seminoles play Duke in Saturday's ACC championship.

The possibility of a BCS championship game without a Southeastern Conference team has many in the South howling - and with good reason. SEC teams have won the past seven national titles, and three of league’s teams are ranked in the Top Five.

No one seems more upset than Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs, who said it would be “un-American” if a one-loss SEC team is left out of the championship. That seems like a position unlikely to gain much support outside the Heart of Dixie, but it's an observation, nonetheless, with some merit.

Thank goodness this is the last year for the BCS, which will be replaced by a four-team playoff next year. How much more interesting it would be to have a showdown that paired, say, Florida State vs. Alabama and Ohio State vs. Auburn, with the winners meeting the following weekend for the national championship.

It’s best when the top teams and the most outstanding players take to the field and settle it between the goal posts. Unfortunately that won’t be the case this year.

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.



Tom Lindley is a sports columnist for the CNHI News Service. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com. - See more at: http://www.cnhinews.com/cnhinewsservice-all/x2136379024/Long-gone-basketball-league-leaves-a-costly-legacy#sthash.7er2TZ0O.dpuf

1
Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Another stumble begs questions about Notre Dame

    Notre Dame's vaunted reputation for formidable athletics and serious academics is again sullied by a cheating scandal. Maybe the high standards of the Fighting Irish are just too good to be true.

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Debate filled with 'hate' gives Hamas a pass

    Political invective is dialed to the max, and everyone who disagrees is a "hater." But the hate police, who are so eager to cast labels, are ignoring the real wells of contempt in the Middle East.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg OU player's suspension shows pitfalls of addressing sexual assault on campus

    The University of Oklahoma's leading tackler is suspended for the season - or maybe not. Frank Shannon is still practicing with the Sooners amid a court battle over whether OU can discipline him after a sexual assault investigation. The tough issue of addressing assault on campus isn't just OU's problem.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • weightloss.jpg The scales of injustice: Weight loss differs between men, women

    You're not imagining it: There really are differences between the way men and women diet, lose weight and respond to exercise.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drug dealers going corporate

    A top federal official on Tuesday said that 105 banks and credit unions are doing business with legal marijuana sellers, suggesting that federal rules giving financial institutions the go-ahead to provide services to dealers are starting to work.

    August 13, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg College sports upended by NCAA vote, judge's ruling

    Big-name conferences have leave to write their own rules, and a federal judge is forcing colleges to share television and marketing royalties with players. The guise of amateurism is gone from college athletics. What's next is anyone's guess.

    August 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • wwimemorial.jpg The benefit of World War I omission on the Washington Mall

    By 1982, when the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened on the National Mall, something had shifted in the way we remember our wars. A national memorial, prominently placed on the nation's most symbolically significant public space, came to seem like an essential dignity offered to veterans, their families and the memory of those who gave their lives. But there is an exception.

    August 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • In Japan, ramen aficionados worry their favorite dish is coming off the boil

    "The ramen boom has ended," said Ivan Orkin, a New Yorker who first traveled to Japan in the 1980s and now owns two noodle-soup restaurants in Tokyo. "A boom implies that there are new avenues and new growth to pursue, and that's not the case in Japan anymore."

    August 11, 2014

  • Dennis Beighley led out of courthouse Mother, grandparents face attempted murder charges in starvation case

    Cheers and applause erupted in a courtroom when a pregnant mother from Pennsylvania accused of starving her then-7-year-old son was remanded to jail, along with the boy’s grandparents.

    August 8, 2014 2 Photos

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks