FSU gets two more weeks to respond

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The NCAA's Committee on Infractions responded Tuesday to Florida State's appeal of sanctions from an academic cheating scandal, but kept its answer secret and gave the school 15 days to respond.

Florida State is challenging a portion of the sanctions announced in March that would force the school to vacate as many as 14 of Bowden's 382 career wins -- just one fewer than Penn State's Joe Paterno.

The university's general counsel, Betty Steffens, will prepare a rebuttal that will be made public, at least in part, university officials said.

"Our comment will be the rebuttal," associate athletic director Rob Wilson said. "We'll all know a lot more when we send this thing back."

Two dozen football players were among 61 Florida State athletes involved in the cheating, which occurred mainly through online testing in a music history course at Florida State in 2006 and 2007. It included staffers helping students on the test and in one case asking one athlete to take it for another.

The school did not challenge the loss of scholarships in 10 sports and a four-year probation.

The university's president, T.K. Wetherell, said in March that sanctions stripping Bowden of coaching wins were "excessive and inappropriate." He said it was unfair to roughly 500 athletes and 52 coaches who had nothing to do with the cheating.

Bowden, who has won two national championships since becoming Florida State's coach in 1976, has also said he thinks the penalties were too stiff.