It’s weird for me to write this because his title was always Florida State “Head Coach” Bobby Bowden, but the 34-year ride has come to an end with an emotional 33 to 21 victory over West Virginia in the Gator Bowl on New Years Day. The 80-year-old Bowden has officially stepped down and did so in a nonchalant, classy fashion chalk full of post-game jokes and a heart-felt good bye.
It should have ended that way. It should have ended on a high note and the man who took a program from nothing to prestige should have walked off into the proverbial sunset and not have to ever look back. Alas, it isn’t so for the mythical coach. The NCAA has put a wrench into what could have been a glorious ending to a fabled career. It pains me to write this, but former Florida State Head Coach Bobby Bowden will have multiple games stripped from his record leaving him with 375 career victories due to the violations FSU reported to the NCAA back in 2007. The offenses were documented, investigated, and have been well publicized as well as criticized/defended throughout the sports world. My question to you is, “Does Bobby deserve this?”
Whether you love Bowden or hate him, the man gave his all to the University and did something unbelievable by taking a program on the brink of disbandment to national power and did so in only a few short seasons. I’m absolutely appalled and disgusted by the NCAA, who, similarly enough, operates much like the Soprano’s. Florida State hasn’t been making the NCAA money the way they used to and they’re now taking it out on the University and Bowden. FSU had much bigger troubles in the ‘90’s and not a single infraction took place, and if there were violations they were slaps on the wrist. The ‘Noles were also winning big games and National Championships. So why attack now?
Take a look at what’s going on at Southern Cal or Tennessee. The Trojans have been on top of the college football world this past decade and have been associated with many alleged wrong doings. Reggie Bush and OJ Mayo immediately come to mind. Google it if you’re not sure what I’m talking about. The NCAA has to protect its prized conference so nothing will come out of Tennessee even with multiple arrests. And not just “caught with marijuana” type arrests. These are student athletes with gun charges, aggravated assault, so on and so forth, and not a whisper from the NCAA.
FSU notified and reported themselves to the NCAA. They even suspended players for the Music City Bowl back in 2007, which probably cost them the game, due to these transgressions. Of course rival fans are going to cry, “Bobby should have known what was going on. It’s his fault.” How? How in the world is one man supposed to know what all his players are doing at all times? Did Meyer know where Dunlap was when he received his DUI? How about Lane Kiffin and his posse who robbed a man in his car at gunpoint like a pack of hoodlums? You’re kidding yourself if you truly think these coaches know what their kids are doing at all times. And you’re absolutely in denial if you think this doesn’t happen at every university. Yes, people speed every day and don’t get caught. It still doesn’t make it right and I’m going to laugh when it eventually catches up to your school.
Bobby Bowden still walks away with his head held high and he can still win a room with his southern charm and quick wit. He stole the hearts of Seminoles fans, as well as college football fans everywhere. This will certainly tarnish his legacy, but at no fault of his own. Bobby did what he was supposed to do and got reprimanded anyway. The United States is a forgiving country and this will all blow over in a few years. If anything, it’s good it finally came out now so the school can move on. Something I can never forgive is the NCAA and their sleazy operation. Thank you, NCAA. You killed a legend.