Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is spending his second day in a hearing that could determine his future at his school.
Both Winston and a former FSU student who said he sexually assaulted her two years ago arrived for the student conduct hearing Wednesday morning.
Winston’s adviser and attorney David Cornwell briefly told reporters that he believes the matter is already decided because the burden of proving student misconduct has not been met.
“This thing is over now,” said Cornwell, who has asserted that the hearing is being used as a stepping stone to a potential civil lawsuit against the Heisman Trophy winner.
The hearing is closed to the public and media. Winston did not speak to reporters on his way inside the campus building that has become surrounded by national and local media. Winston is scheduled to lead the Seminoles this Saturday against Georgia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Championship game.
The hearing is to determine whether Winston violated any or all of four sections of the code of conduct – two for sexual misconduct and two for endangerment. It is not like a normal criminal proceeding because attorneys for Winston and the former student are not allowed to question witnesses or make statements.
A local prosecutor investigated the case but declined to file criminal charges last year, citing a lack of evidence.
The second day of the hearing is expected to include additional witnesses. An FSU police officer entered the building shortly after the hearing started but declined to answer questions.
The potential ramifications for Winston range from a reprimand to expulsion from school.
Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Major Harding, who is presiding over the hearing, has 10 school days after the hearing to make a decision. Either Winston or the woman can request an appeal within five days of the initial hearing decision.
The Associated Press does not identify people who say they are victims of sexual abuse.
The hearing is being held as Florida State is investigated by the U.S. Department of Education on how it handles possible Title IX violations. The woman who said Winston assaulted her filed a complaint with the department’s Office for Civil Rights, which decided the university should be investigated for over the way it responds to sexual violence complaints.
Title IX is a federal statute that bans discrimination at schools that receive federal funding. The Department of Education in 2011 warned schools of their legal responsibilities to immediately investigate allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence, even if the criminal investigation has not concluded.
Off-field problems have been a consistent issue for one of college football’s biggest stars.
Since Meggs announced he wasn’t filing charges against Winston in December 2013, the quarterback has been involved in two widely publicized off-field incidents.
In April, he took $32 worth of crab legs and crawfish from a Tallahassee Publix grocery store. He said he forgot to pay and agreed to complete 20 hours of community service. He was briefly suspended from the baseball team, where he is a relief pitcher.
Winston was suspended for one football game in September after he climbed atop a table in a Florida State lunchroom and yelled an obscene phrase.
Republished with permission of the Associated Press.