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Jameis Winston Losing Credibility Fast

If forced to choose between a star quarterback and the high stakes of a Title IX investigation, Florida State's choice is obvious and inevitable.

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Florida State Seminoles fans hold a sign referring to quarterback Jameis Winston (5) (not pictured) during the game against the Clemson Tigers at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Florida State Seminoles fans hold a sign referring to quarterback Jameis Winston (5) (not pictured) during the game against the Clemson Tigers at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

It appears that the worm has turned at Florida State, where patience with Jameis Winston has run out on many levels. The look on coach Jimbo Fisher's face when Winston came out in full pads to warm up against Clemson told one story.

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Comments after the game from various people afterwards told another. Check out what former 'Nole and noted educator Deion Sanders had to say: "He is a kid with two parents, who knows better. It’s not a kid with a single parent and is acting out. He knows better. Sometimes a kid that comes from a good background wants to be a bad boy, and a kid from a bad background, he wants to be a good boy. Jameis needs to figure out what he wants to be because what he wants to be and where he wants to go are not lining up with his actions. They’re not lining up whatsoever."

Tim Tebow: "Well, I have two sisters and a mom, and what was said just isn’t OK. My hope and my prayer for Jameis is that he can find wise counsel and that he can find people that will invest in him and invest in his life. He has something to live for that’s more important than just the moment because when you live for the moment, the moment will always let you down in silly situations like he’s been in in the past."

Lee Corso: "As a former player at Florida State, I am embarrassed."

Samantha Ponder: "There’s a ton of responsibility, but here’s what I’m not buying. I’m not buying that the expectations are too high. Here’s what we’re asking from him: We’re asking you don’t lie, you don’t cheat, you don’t steal and you don’t disrespect women..."If you are even accused of what he was accused of — let’s assume he didn’t do it," Ponder said. "Even if you’re just accused, how can you think it would ever be appropriate to publicly speak in such an obscene and vulgar way about women? You just can’t do it. And I have a feeling Jameis knows that."

An unidentified NFL scout: "It'll hurt him significantly. Especially with all the stuff going on in the league. This may force him to stay another year to clean up his image. He's a fraud. You can't believe anything he says, because he keeps doing the same things over and over. In my mind, there are night-and-day differences between (Johnny) Manziel's and his character concerns. Winston has some serious issues."

And Jimbo Fisher?  "At the end of the day we felt like the one game made the most sense, and I chose to keep that process internal. Now he's served that punishment and he's ready to move forward."

Well, yes and no. Fisher no doubt wishes to put the whole mess behind him. It may not be that easy however.

As it turns out, there is more to Winston's suspension for the Clemson game than was initially reported, and a logical reason why the administration apparently intervened: the federal Title IX investigation into sexual assault at Florida State. Since rape allegations were made against Winston, he is part of that investigation.

None of this went over well with attorney and Winston family advisor David Cornwell, who discussed the situation and made his hardball intentions clear by using the alleged victim's name in his statement (generally redacted by the media):

"The real story here is that after her Colorado attorneys created a media frenzy alleging that Florida State University failed to comply with its Title IX obligations, Ms. (name redacted) had to come clean and admit that she previously refused to cooperate with the university’s Title IX inquiry.

"Now that she has finally done her Title IX interview, this is the fourth time Ms. (name redacted) has told her story.  We anticipate the same conclusion that followed her previous three statements to the Tallahassee Police Department, Florida State Attorney’s Office and in the FSU Code of Student Conduct hearing.  Jameis Winston did not sexually assault Ms. (name redacted)."

So now the real game is afoot: under federal pressure, the university felt obliged to punish Winston more extensively. As of now, it's just the Clemson game. We expect that the university's attorneys have advised them that any false step with Winston is now potentially catastrophic and that a systematic plan for dealing with him and any further transgressions is in place.One wrong move, one underage drink or rude comment in the cafeteria, and he's very likely not to be just suspended, which Fisher will resist, but kicked out of school. And there, Fisher has no authority to intervene.