Florida State's president attributed an academic cheating scandal to a lack of oversight by athletic department officials, an inattentive faculty member and a rogue tutor.

T.K. Wetherell yesterday described the course in question, a 3-hour music history class, as "contaminated," and said changes have been made.

Although Wetherell has said in the past that the recent resignation of athletic director David Hart Jr. was not related to the incident, his statement suggested otherwise.

"The violations focused on a poorly structured online course, lack of attention to detail by a faculty member, and insufficient oversight by the athletic department of one rogue tutor - all coming together to result in a 'contaminated' class," Wetherell said in the statement.

The school has suspended roughly two dozen players for its Dec. 31 game against Kentucky in the Music City Bowl. Two other players, receiver Joslin Shaw and defensive end Kevin McNeil, were suspended during the season. The players who won't travel to the bowl game will be identified today when the school announces its travel list.

The St. Petersburg Times editorialized yesterday that coach Bobby Bowden should retire. The paper praised his accomplishments, but said the coach was "padding the career victory total at the expense of a remarkable legacy and a dignified exit."

Noteworthy

* Three starters are among six Tennessee players who have been ruled academically ineligible for the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1.

Wide receiver Lucas Taylor, linebacker Rico McCoy and defensive tackle Demonte Bolden are the suspended starters; free safety Ricardo Kemp, wide receiver Kenny O'Neal and linebacker Chris Donald are also ineligible.

* Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, approached by UCLA in its search for a head coach, has said he's staying put. So far, only Temple's Al Golden, former UCLA quarterback Rick Neuheisel and interim head coach DeWayne Walker have been interviewed for the job.

* Fred Jackson was brought back as Michigan's running backs coach, a day after new coach Rich Rodriguez fired all the assistants on Lloyd Carr's staff.

In the New Orleans Bowl:

* At New Orleans, Rusty Smith threw for 336 yards and a game-record five touchdowns to lead Florida Atlantic to a 44-27 victory over Memphis. It was the first bowl game for FAU, which has had a football team for only seven seasons and didn't join the NCAA's Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) until 2005.

FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger, who led Miami to the 1983 national championship with an Orange Bowl triumph over Nebraska, is 5-0 in bowl games. He won the 1980 Peach Bowl with Miami and two bowl games with Louisville, the 1990 Fiesta Bowl and the 1993 Liberty Bowl. *