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Winston cleared in FSU hearing

A judge cites insufficient evidence as Florida State QB Jameis Winston again escapes punishment in alleged sexual assault.

FLORIDA STATE quarterback Jameis Winston was cleared of the accusations he faced at a student code of conduct hearing involving an alleged sexual assault 2 years ago, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press yesterday.

Former Florida Supreme Court judge Major Harding wrote in a letter to Winston that the evidence was "insufficient to satisfy the burden of proof." Prosecutor Willie Meggs made a similar decision a year ago when he decided not to criminally charge Winston, citing a lack of evidence.

This month, a 2-day hearing was held to determine whether Winston violated four sections of the code of conduct - two for sexual misconduct and two for endangerment.

The ramifications for Winston ranged from a reprimand to expulsion from school.

The woman can request an appeal within 5 days.

"We will consider an appeal but right now we feel a little duped," said Baine Kerr, one of the woman's lawyers. "At some point we have to recognize that Florida State is never going to hold James Winston responsible."

Kerr said in the emailed statement that between his client, Winston, and two teammates that were at the off-campus apartment - Chris Casher and Ronald Darby - only the woman would answer questions about what happened.

"Somehow Jameis Winston still wins," Kerr said. "The order doesn't even follow the Student Conduct Code and it ignores the bulk of the evidence."

Florida State president John Thrasher said in a statement that the university selected the former state Supreme Court justice to remove any doubt about the integrity of the process.

Harding wrote that both sides' version of the events had strengths and weaknesses, but he did not find the credibility of one "substantially stronger than the other."

"In sum, the preponderance of the evidence has not shown that you are responsible for any of the charged violations of the Code," Harding wrote.

In other college football news:

* Boise State tailback Jay Ajayi says he's skipping his senior season to enter the upcoming NFL draft. The junior ranks fourth in the nation with 1,689 rushing yards and has 25 touchdowns.

* The west side of Texas A & M's Kyle Field was imploded as part of $450 million in improvements.


* Elisabeth Goergl beat Anna Fenninger by .05 seconds to lead an Austrian 1-2 in a women's super-G race in Val d'Isere, France, while American Lindsey Vonn crashed during her bid for a record-equaling 62nd career win.

Marcel Hirscher beat Ted Ligety by a large margin to post his third career win on the Gran Risa course in a World Cup giant slalom race in Alta Badia, Italy.

Sport Stops

* The Brazil women's soccer team held on for a 0-0 draw with the United States to win the International Tournament of Brasilia. Brazil had the tiebreaker in the final because it finished with the best result in group play at the four-team competition.

* India's Arjun Atwal won the Asian Tour's season-ending Dubai Open, rallying on the final hole to beat South Korea's Wang Jeung-hun by a stroke.