Friday, August 21, 2009

Vacating Wins

So the NCAA is making Memphis vacate wins by its basketball team because they used an ineligible player. They are also trying to force FSU to vacate wins by the football team for a similar offense. The NCAA needs to get real! Let me explain why this foolishness has gone on long enough and it really hasn't gone on that long.
Does anybody really care that the Memphis record will be reduced by 36 wins? Do they have to count them as losses, or do they just go away to the magical land of NCAA stupidity? Does it help the teams they beat on their way to the final four at all? Does that mean that the team they beat to get to the final four can now claim another final four appearance? Do you think the coaches care about the vacated wins? Most coaches don't remember who the opponent is in two weeks, much less care about what happened two years ago. Apparently Kentucky doesn't care if they will have to vacate wins in the future either. But just in case, the SID should keep that word file handy because he or she is likely to have to make an amendment in the next five years!
The only reason FSU is fighting like crazy to overturn the NCAA's ruling is this crazy competition to see who can outlive and outcoach the other between Bowden and Paterno. That might just be the next reality TV series from Mark Burnett. If that wasn't the case, you can bet that FSU would have said thank you and moved on when the penalty was handed down. Memphis is appealing the decision because they have to give back the post-season cash from that year. Schools don't really care about the wins, it's the other things that make them go off on the NCAA.
If the NCAA wants to really reign in the bending of the rules that takes place, they have to start hitting the schools where it hurts. Take away the TV appearances! That's where the money is and that's what is most important to the athletic programs at big time schools. Let the SEC lose Florida and LSU from it's TV package and see how quickly they move to shore up any compliance issues. Let the ACC lose Duke and UNC from it's basketball lineup and see just how much ESPN is willing to pay for the contract to broadcast basketball and watch how quickly college basketball coaches start to care about recruiting issues.
But they won't do it. Because in the end, the NCAA doesn't care about student-athletes or fairness. They only care about having the appearance of doing so. The NCAA is the police of athletics, but the problem is that the NCAA is also the biggest profit maker from the programs who are skirting the issues and bending the rules. In the end, if they take away scholarships and post-season appearances, and TV appearances, they know they hurt their own bottom line as much or more than the penalized institution. So they just keep vacating wins! Maybe the rest of us should take a vacation from NCAA events....... Yeah right, it's two weeks from game day in Gainesville!

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