Florida State University says it's unfair to make football coach Bobby Bowden and others they say played no role in an academic cheating scandal give up wins.
The university appealed an NCAA infractions committee decision Wednesday to strip the school of victories in several sports, including individual records of innocent coaches and athletes.
"The NCAA should protect - and not penalize - those who play by the rules," the school says in its appeal.
An NCAA appeal committee next will consider the case.
If the infractions committee decision stands, Bowden could lose up to 14 wins. That would give him little chance of catching Penn State's Joe Paterno in their race for the title as major college football's winningest coach. Paterno has 383 victories, just one more than Bowden.
In its 21-page appeal, Florida State says the NCAA did not consider the school's cooperation and self-corrective action before handing out penalties.
The NCAA said 61 Seminole athletes cheated on an online test in a music history course from the fall of 2006 through summer 2007 or received improper help from staffers who provided them with answers to the exam and typed papers for them.
In its rebuttal, Florida State disputes that the committee put significant weight on the university's investigation and self-imposed probation as the NCAA has in similar cases. The result is that the report "frustrates meaningful review on appeal" and "discourages institutional cooperation," the rebuttal says.
FSU also says the NCAA exaggerated the seriousness of the infractions.
"It is unquestioned that virtually all of the violations at issue are associated with a single, online music course," the rebuttal says. "If academic fraud had been pandemic ... the disease would have infected course after course. ... This did not happen."