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June 11, 2009

NCAA Retroactively Punishes Bama

This meant nothing.
The Brittney Spears reference.  The shower of bourbon, sadness and plastic from the Bama student section.  The most exciting end to a UGA game since Michael Johnson might as well never happened.  Even if we didn't field a team that steamy night in Tuscaloosa, your final score would still have been Georgia 1, Bama 0 in the Bama record books.
That's the retroactive truth after today's report on the Alabama textbook scandal was handed down by the NCAA.  The report has been simmering in Indianapolis for months it seems.  The scandal focuses on the seemingly rare violation of NCAA textbook distribution policy (evidently there is such a thing).  Seems you have to check out and pay for books at the same time and UA's bookstore had some flawed internal controls for books paid for by the athletic department.  I can't imagine a more boring college athletics scandal, especially one committed by a school who once gave lots of cold, hard, easily understandable cash to a prospective player.  The biggest offender in this scandal got less than four grand in impermissible benefits.
It's a snoozer, but this is still a program with a rich tradition of NCAA trouble.  These transactions happened while Bama was already on NCAA probation from it's 2002 NCAA case.  So one would expect some harsh treatment for a repeat offender already on probation, right? Uh, no.
Bama gets to vacate up to 21 wins during 2005 through 2007, add a couple more years of probation on top of their existing probation, and pay a fine.  The Horror!  Here's what to take away from this: probation means nothing.  If you can effectively pay your players in kind during a probation period and get a stern "Don't do it Again," what's the point of probation?  After all, vacating wins means absolutely nothing in the collective minds of college football fans.  A forty thousand dollar fine to a program that pays their head coach $4 million per is a joke.  Probation evidently means you might get more probation if you mess up while on it.
In the age of Kiffin, Big Cat weekend and Bama's perpetual probation, do NCAA rules mean anything?  After all, a broken rule must have consequences to be a rule. 



Bama = dumb said...

Some teams simply have to cheat to be competitive.

Bama has always been one of those teams.

There are others, but Alabama continues to lead by bad example.

And since when did we have candy apple red helmets?

Anonymous said...

I just do not understand what is going on with the NCAA right now.

I fear that we are on the way to the early 1980's again.

Hobnail_Boot said...

Like hell, it meant nothing. I'll never forget being in the middle of that endzone, surrounded by the entire Alabama Greek student population with one other lone brave Dawgly soul.

Dawg bless road trips in the SEC.

JasonC said...

Probation doesn't mean anything until you are:
1) kept out of the post-season
2) forfeit rights to bowl money
3) lose significant scholarships

If the NCAA really wanted to discourage teams from violating the rules, they could start there.

Andy said...

Like Hell it meant nothing is right! But I get what McDawg is saying; that is the way it will be when we're all dead and gone with nothing but a record book to reflect upon.

This sucks for Bama, yada yada yada; too bad for us last year they weren't passing out free playbooks.

I'm sure, wherever he is, fat Phil is smiling.

Mr. Sanchez said...

Somewhere in Kentucky, a slick haired gentlemen of Italian descent smiles, and begins to drool a little.

Ollllddude said...

The NCAA can change the final score if it wants, but it can't take away the way I felt. Around the bowl and down hole, roll, Bama, roll.

Mr. Bulldawg said...

This meant nothing.

The hell it didn't. That was one of most signifigant wins under Richt. Also because my Mom was there, for her first road game ever.

Mr. Sanchez said...

The NCAA isn't changing our score. They are taking away the wins. Teams who lost apparently still have Ls on their record anyway. So the NCAA is even more gutless than originally thought.

"Forcing Alabama to vacate the wins instead of forfeiting means the opponents who lost those games won't be allowed to change their own records to reflect a victory."

Dante said...

Alabama is now on double secret probation. Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, Bama.

todd said...

Maybe the NCAA forgot what "on probation" means. It means you got caught cheating and you keep your nose clean for a certain period of time or else. Or else should not amount to a slap on the wrist. It should mean loss of scholarships, no postseason participation, and one step closer to the big one.

It happened to us. It happens to a lot of schools. Alabama should be no different.

skidawg1985 said...

Is there a bigger joke in sports than the NCAA?

Money, money, money. Make the fines serious fines. Heck make it a percentage of the coach's compensation package for each violation. Make it a percentage of the TV revenue. Make a fine that means something. It is like the NBA fining Lebron $25K for skipping a press conference. I bet Lebron's hourly wage is more than that.

Take away bowl games. That does hurt as it 1) means less money, 2) less exposure, 3) less practice time, 4) less chance to impress recruits.

If there are major violations then a coach should be suspended also. Even if he leaves and later is found to be involved, he gets suspended.

The Bama textbook thing seems really stupid. The NCAA spent time on this and yet the Reggie Bush style stuff still is not resolved.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a Bama fan by any means, and their rampant history of cheating has always irked me (especially when their fans make all sorts of excuses for it, or deny it). But Bama really doesn't deserve any harsher punishment than this---I mean, come on, the whole thing was really stupid IMO. I know they were on probation at the time and all, but again this was quite a trivial offense.

Whats messed up is the fact that the NCAA would spend their time investigating this non-sense while conveniently ignoring all the transgressions at USC and the Marice Clarret deal at OSU. Basically, the programs (like USC) that tell the NCAA to essentially F-off get away with it while those who choose to corporate get punished. In other words, if you don't corporate with their investigation, they have a hard time proving anything and eventually go away. But if you do, they use what you give them against you and punish you.

USC AD Mike Garrett has taken the former approach, and has told the NCAA that they won't provide them or corporate with anything. So far its working out quite well for them. Maybe we and other schools should do the same.

Dante said...

Anon 7:55AM: "...those who choose to corporate get punished. In other words, if you don't corporate..."

Corporate? Nice try, Corrine Brown. Shouldn't you be blogging on a Florida site?

Kevin said...

First off, don't go ruining my Friday morning by saying that game meant nothing. That was one of the greatest road games I've ever been to. From the time we "snuck" into the stadium by telling the UA ticket holders we were working the concession stands (4 of us, red and black, and a girl with 'G' tattoos on her face) to the final play with bourbon raining down on the team. I'll never forget that game.

Secondly, I have it under good authority that Alabama is now on double secret probation.

Quinton McDawg said...

I don't meant that the game didn't count literally. Of course it did. Hell, I jumped over three rows of Bama fans to hug fellow Dawg people, possibly putting my life in danger, when Henderson made that catch. My only point is that in the Bama records, we could of had me at quarterback that night and still won 1-0. To us, though, it's still a 20-17 OT win in Tuscaloosa, which further illustrated the point that this punishment is meaningless.

Quinton McDawg said...

Oops, 26-23 OT win.

Anonymous said...

ONCE paid a prospective player??? They always pay their recruits... Saban gets boosters to make huge pools for some of the top guys every year.

Parole Tide said...

Maybe this is good b/c the lunatic fringe at Bama (and they are lunatics) will feel emboldened to do more. For a while, I'm sure they felt cowed into not hiring players to "wash cars" and other standard nonsense, for fear of hurtin the team. Seeing that they faced no damage for the "cash and carry" book program, they can assume Sabanator is above the law.

Whatever the case, as much as I can't stand Bama fans, UGA tends to do best when Bama is up and Aubern is down. So perhaps this is a blessing.

Anonymous said...


It would NOT have been a 1-0 win for Georgia. It doesn't make any damn sense, but that's the way it is. The wins are vacated, but the game is not awarded to the loser.

My understanding is a little hazy, but I believe this is how it works: If a team goes 8-4 and is forced to vacate the wins, its record is 0-4, not 0-12. And even if that's not the way it actually works, that's pretty much what happens in principle. Georgia's record wouldn't change either way.

NM said...

Yeah, 12:32 is right -- vacating isn't the same as forfeiting; a loss would still be a loss on our end. And record books aside, it's not like you can go back in time anyway. If we had lost that game, even if we later got it back, we still wouldn't have gone to the Sugar Bowl or had any of the other great stuff that happened that year. It's absolutely wrong to say it meant nothing, or that it means any less now -- in any way at all -- than it did then.

Also, vacating wins is a joke. The NCAA usually gives em back anyway -- remember Ga Tech's "punishment"? Obviously the NCAA doesn't take the rules seriously -- even though this is a minor thing, it's Bama's third probation in ten years. That's outrageous and something bad oughta happen to them. But it won't.

And guys, the NCAA has more than one investigator! Dealing with this doesn't mean they're not working on the USC stuff. But Anon 7:55, if you think Bama isn't getting off easy here, think again. They're not being punished in any meaningful way. If Middle Tennessee or New Mexico State or some other lesser-known program had done as much as Bama has, they'd get some sort of real punishment. But the NCAA wouldn't dare keep "newly-resurgent" Alabama and Coach Saban out of a bowl or a national title hunt. That's bad for business. It's not about cooperation, it's about money, and Bama (and USC and Ohio State) football brings it in.

Paul Westerdawg said...

I'm in the minority. I don't think it's a big deal. It's $250 or less per kid across 200 kids.

Big deal.

Given their history...I'd say staying on probation for 3 more years is a bigger deal than the forfeited wins.

Quinton McDawg said...

I know that if we had lost, it would not have been a victory for us, but only in our record book. We couldn't recognize a loss that is later vacated, but they would have to show we won the game "in the Bama record books." I appreciate the difference between a forfeit and vacating the win. I listened to the press conference too.

My whole point is that such punishment is stupid and meaningless.

hey said...

@PWD- But what does probation even mean?

Anonymous said...

True. The hoops wins that UGA had to vacate did not become wins for the opponents.

Mr. Sanchez said...

Paul, they've been found guilty of committing violations twice in the last 10 years while technically being on NCAA probation. So how does extending probation matter?

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