The Process: Now with five fewer wins. Unless you were asleep all day, you know this, but Alabama was slapped with three years of probation and forced to vacate what turned out to be 21 wins as a result of the NCAA investigation into Textbookgate. Long story short: Athletes used bookstore discount to buy books for relatives. Alabama found this out and reported it. NCAA administered slap on the wrist.
No postseason ban, no loss of scholarships, which essentially means no sanctions that will have any meaningful impact on anything.
Saurian Sagacity is less than impressed.
There is simply nothing lamer the NCAA can do than cause schools to forfeit past victories. No one cares, not the school, not the fans and – with the exception of perhaps Bobby Bowden – not the coaches. What are you going to do – brag to your rival that you really beat them back in 2006 despite what occurred on the field?
The only penalties worth anything are penalties to your future, and Alabama got none here.
This is a common view of the punishments, and fair to an extent. Alabama did dodge some pretty big bullets that the NCAA could have fired.
But there are a few things worth noting. First of all, this is not really the kind of major violation that causes alarm bells to go off. No money was passed under the table, and no recruit ended up driving a new Lexus. Roll Bama Roll hits some other exculpatory highlights.
Given the severely nitpicky nature of the violation (honest mistake on the part of most of those involved and just plain old broke college kids figuring out a way to get free stuff on the part of the rest) and the ease in which the university could have simply fixed the problem and swept it under the rug, turning yourself in while fully aware the charges could fall within the "repeat offender" window and become a more serious violation than it actually is was probably the most difficult, but ultimately correct, thing to do.
The flip side of this, of course, is that Alabama knew if it got caught instead of turning itself in that The Process could have become the 21st Century version of the Pony Express. If the NCAA is ever going to use the death penalty again. Which we know it will not.However, I have to disagree with one of the main lines of Tide spin, which President Robert Witt used in his response to the ruling.
No sport gained a competitive advantage and not one athlete pocketed one dollar.
This is not entirely true. I forget who made the point -- I must sadly admit that I believe it was someone on College Football Live -- but Alabama is being punished at all because ineligible athletes played. Having ineligible athletes play who otherwise would not have played is a competitive advantage. We have to assume they were on the field because they were better than the next guy on the depth chart, meaning Alabama had a better team playing than one comprised entirely of eligible players. That is, in a very subtle way, a competitive advantage.
For those of you looking for all the relevant numbers in the scandal, The Rap Sheet has you covered.
The immediate question, of course, is how all those vacated wins play out. First of all, none of the would-be former losers should be updating their record books.
But after corresponding with J.D. Hamilton, the NCAA's assistant director of statistics, I'm told that won't be the case. "The win-losses only affects the institution that the is handed down the decision," Hamilton wrote in an e-mail. (To be clear, I was asking Hamilton about a hypothetical situation, so that shouldn't be viewed as a affirmation by an NCAA official of the Tide's expected penalties.)
For Mississippi State, this isn't a huge deal either way. Since the period of time includes 2005 through 2007, State only has one loss potentially in question here — its 17-0 setback to the Crimson Tide on Nov. 5, 2005. State won at Tuscaloosa in 2006 and in Starkville in 2007.
On Sept. 29, 2007 Florida State defeated Alabama in Jacksonville. In hindsight, the game might be the first in history that neither school had a chance to win. The NCAA is looking into whether both schools will vacate victories from that season.
There is one school that benefits from Alabama's troubles -- though any victory could be short-lived.
Southern Cal now stands alone with the most bowl victories in college football history. Alabama, which was tied atop the list with 31, now drops to 30 because of the Cotton Bowl.
Alas, Tennessee can get no relief from one of the more embarrassing losses of the "how did that happen?" 2007 SEC East Championship team.
Schadenfreude isn't what it used to be.
EDITOR'S NOTE: In reviewing the Alabama item, I realized that I missed a blockquote and a link. That has been corrected. Apologies to the authors involved -- no slight was intended -- and thus hopefully ends one of the worst weeks I've had at TSK.
The Fulmer casting is inspired. Hey Jenny Slater casts "SEC: THE MOVIE!" A pretty good list, though I think Pauley Perrette should don her Abby outfits and play Evil Richt. This could, though, simply be a sign that my obsession with NCIS and crush on Perrette have gone a bit too far.
More history. This time recent history, as The Joe Cribbs Car Wash takes another look at 3-2 as part of the "Review of DEATH" series. That game really never gets old, though Jerry points out that we've forgotten the almost epic performance of the Auburn defense. You could also argue that it was the final perfection of the CROOMfense, but give Auburn fans a break for having to go through that game.
More Kiffin? Sure. Let's sum up the fallout of the back and forth. Joel at Rocky Top Talk lays out the reasons he believes Boy Wonder can be successful. Blutarsky more thoroughly outlines his theory that "it's all about Lane Kiffin." And kleph at Roll Bama Roll emphasizes the one thing we can all agree on: Layla Kiffin is gorgeous. And the Mayor says there's no reason to believe the Dawgs will be successful in 2009.
Wind Sprints. Dr. Saturday is surprised by how much hype Ole Miss has generated ... Cornelius Ingram gets a contract done with the Philadelphia Eagles ... Dominique Archie will return to the Gamecocks ... Tyler Smith is remaining at Tennessee ... Riley Cooper could leave the Gators to concentrate on baseball (but probably won't) ... Dicky Lyons Jr. teaches us about hydration ... John Daly golfing with Houston Nutt. Oh, to be a fly on the wall ...