Wednesday, October 15, 2008

FSU Scandal: Brenda Monk Breaks Her Silence

Brenda Monk, the tutor at the center of the FSU cheating scandal, has broken her silence and will travel at her own expense to the Infractions Hearing in Indianapolis on Saturday:

"I worked 16 hours a day," said Monk, 59, who is now a principal at the school at the Lake City Correctional Facility. "If I wanted to be dishonest and type the papers for the students, I probably could have had an eight-hour work day like everybody else in the office. But I wanted the students to learn. I am not a dishonest person, and I want the NCAA to know I'm not a dishonest person."

The school also has alleged that she instructed one student-athlete to enter answers to an online test on behalf of another student-athlete, the situation that led to her being put on administrative leave in April 2007 (and "thrown out of my office") and her resignation in July. She said that it was a lapse in judgment — not fraud — and that fatigue was a factor.

Actually, it seems to have been simultaneously a lapse of judgment, AND fraud.

"I never want to use an excuse, but I was tired," she said. "And I made a mistake. … I never got a chance to talk about it and I would have liked to have had that. … One mistake should not have ended my career at Florida State."

I am having a great deal of difficulty in being sympathetic. It was, rightly, a career-ending mistake.

Lastly, the school has said Monk was guilty of another mistake, providing at least six student-athletes with answers for online quizzes in an online music course, either directly or with a study guide she had compiled. FSU has admitted that there was confusion about when the class allowed open-book quizzes.

She has denied giving out answers. The unnamed tutor, however, told investigators that he saw Monk helping student-athletes on quizzes and followed her lead. He's said to have helped 54 student-athletes; he also said Goldsmith told him to provide test answers.

"It was unfortunate that the music class was not monitored the way it should have been monitored and that the tutor was not monitored the way he should have monitored," Monk said, echoing FSU's reports, including that no coaches were involved. "I have to take part of the blame because I was part of the staff. … But when you read it, it's as if I orchestrated the whole thing."

The best potential spin for Monk that can be put on this is that the fraud happened under her watch. Not an enviable situation to explain your way out of. . .

1. FSU Cheating Scandal
2. Florida State Scandal: Kudos to President Wetherell
3. STUDENT-Athlete Garrett Johnson Fires Both Barrels
4. No Sunshine in Florida?
5. FSU Scandal: Brenda Monk Breaks Her Silence

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