TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Thirty-six Florida State players won't be going to the Dec. 31 Music City Bowl against Kentucky because of an academic cheating scandal, violations of team rules, injuries or other reasons.
Linebacker Dekoda Watson, cornerback Patrick Robinson, who had six interceptions, and three top defensive tackles were among the players sidelined either as a result of the ongoing investigation into an academic cheating scandal at the school or some other violation of team rules.
"It is very important that the media make clear that those missing the bowl trip are not included because of either injury or for a violation of team policy," associate athletic director Rob Wilson said in a statement accompanying the travel list. "It would be irresponsible to imply or state that any or all of the student-athletes will miss the trip for one particular reason."
The total number of players not going to the game was determined by comparing the travel list with the roster provided by the university. That figure, however, was disputed by Wilson, who said up to 10 walk-ons would have stayed home regardless.
The school announced earlier this week that as many as 25 players might be affected by its ongoing investigation of academic wrongdoing by the athletes. It didn't identify which students.
A violation of team rules could range from poor class attendance to a run-in with the law or failing a drug test, among many other things.
The Florida State roster was so thinned by the academic scandal that the team had room for 17 players on the traveling party who are either redshirt freshmen or athletes who suffered season-ending or career-ending injuries this season. Only 43 scholarship players are available to coach Bobby Bowden for the game.