Wednesday morning brought the acknowledgement from Jameis Winston that his infamous shoplifting of crab legs last year was actually a “hook-up” from a friend who worked at the Tallahassee grocery store. Winston also revealed that the same friend had hooked him up with a birthday cake for another friend a week before as well.
Those twin revelations set tongues a wagging, especially amongst the anti-Florida State crowd, that Winston had pushed FSU into a realm that could result in punitive penalties being brought down by the NCAA on the football program.
Coincidentally, Winston’s former head coach, Jimbo Fisher, was previously scheduled to speak to media types in an ACC conference call. Of course, Fisher was asked about his former player’s admissions.
“If he says it is I guess it is,” Fisher said when asked about the admission.
According to the coach, the FSU compliance department looked into the issue at the time — they contacted the Publix store — and found it to be an isolated incident, although Winston’s public comments has the department taking a peek yet again. “[T]hey think it’s totally an isolated incident that happened and [we’re in] the process working it right now. So I don’t think it’s anything else more than that,” Fisher said.
If Winston had decided to return for another season with the Seminoles and made that admission — and no other incidents were uncovered during an investigation — he likely would’ve had his eligibility stripped until he made restitution for the hook-up — $33 for the seafood and an unknown amount for the cake. He would’ve faced no game suspension, unless the value of the cake was $67 or more as NCAA bylaws call for a suspension of 10 percent of that sport’s regular season games — in this case, 1.2 would’ve been rounded down to one game — for impermissible benefits that range from $100-$400 in value; anything below $100 is restitution only.
As for the FSU football program? Unless it was a systematic issue that involved multiple players over numerous years and the university failed to report it, a slap on the wrist for a very secondary violation, at most, would be in the offing. After all, if Arian Foster can admit numerous times that he took upwards of $50,000 from boosters during his time at Tennessee and nothing comes of it, I don’t know why Winston’s admission of free seafood and cake that likely totaled less than $100 would be of interest to the NCAA.
Then again, this is the NCAA we’re discussing, so…