Vacate This ... Alabama's NCAA Punishment
Alabama head coach Nick Saban
Alabama head coach Nick Saban
Posted Jun 11, 2009

Alabama will be tagged by the NCAA for violations from 2005 to 2007 revolving around the selling of textbooks. What will be the punishment? Vacated wins. Pete Fiutak gives Alabama advice for how it should handle the situation.

Fiu's Daily Cavalcade of Whimsy

Alabama's Vacated Wins ... June 11

a.k.a. Frank Costanza's Festivus Airing of the Grievances ... or the obvious attempt to keep readers coming to the site on a regular basis during the off-season.
By Pete Fiutak   

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- Urban Meyer's lost focus

- Florida State's vacated wins

- Stories from the Combine
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- The NFL announcers
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- Why Florida really is No. 1
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- 10 Reasons Why Fla Will Win
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- NFL Mock Draft (top 10 picks)
- Holiday Wish List For All 119 Teams
- Chizik, Gill, & the Race Card
Why Paterno isn't too old

Past Whimsies

- 2008 Season
2008 Preseason Cavalcade
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2006 Season

"A lifetime of working in a nuclear power plant has given me a healthy green glow. And left me as impotent as a Nevada boxing commissioner. And now that I'm back to normal, I don't bring you peace and love. I bring you fear, famine, and pestilence." ... Alabama, here's how you handle the situation with the NCAA, who's forcing you to vacate as many as 21 wins from 2005 to 2007 after you voluntarily reported violations regarding the improper selling of textbooks by a few players. Here's your official statement you release to the media. Use one simple word.


The Virginia Tech game is on September 5th.

Or how about taking this tactic, Bama, and just say no. The conversation would go something like this.

NCAA: "Alabama, you must vacate all 21 wins accumulated from 2005 to 2007."

Alabama: "No."

NCAA: "Uh, yes, you must vacate the wins. That's your punishment."

Alabama: "No."

NCAA: "Do it, or we're taking away some of your scholarships."

Alabama: "No you won't."

NCAA: "That's it, we're taking away scholarships."

Alabama: "No you're not. We're going to allow the same number of players to attend our school that we always have. We're not going to charge them tuition and we're going to let them stay in the dorms and get their room and board for free. Now go away."

NCAA: "Pleeeeeeease vacate your wins. Pleeeeeeease."

Alabama: "Go get us a latte. Skim. One Splenda."

NCAA: "You want a muffin with that?"

The idea of the NCAA forcing programs like Alabama, Oklahoma, and Florida State to vacate wins is flawed at best, gutless at worst. First of all, the NCAA should have nothing to do with this in the first place. It's a school matter that should be handled by the University of Alabama. Period. Some of the players were suspended for a time and the school was able to properly find the violation itself and deal accordingly. For the NCAA to come in after the fact and dole out some extra punishment that's not really a punishment is the equivalent of threatening to take away a snotty kid's cupcake after he had already eaten it and spent an hour in time out.

Does 2007 Vanderbilt become bowl eligible now? Is Colorado awarded the 2007 Independence Bowl? And how about we redo the BCS rankings for 2006, because if the NCAA is going to force Alabama to vacate the wins, then the losses also can't count on the books, meaning Florida went 12-1 in 2006 and Michigan retroactively deserves the shot at Ohio State in the 2007 BCS Championship.

And while you're feeling strong, NCAA, and you're doling out after-the-fact punishment, why don't you really cook the books and use your version of justice on the rest of your record book that's full of lies and hypocrisies. You want to talk about violations, you can all but say goodbye to just about every national champion you choose to acknowledge in football. The basketball record book would be even more of a disaster to rewrite.


You're nailing Alabama for self-reporting a violation of a few players selling textbooks?! Take a look at the history of the school and that's what you're going to take away wins for? Crack a history book about the sport you allegedly oversee and retroactively start forcing programs to start vacating wins based on everything that's become common knowledge ... good luck with that.

Don't just stop at Alabama's textbooks, NCAA, grow a pair and force UCLA to vacate the ten men's basketball national championships won under John Wooden thanks to the involvement of uber-booster Sam Gilbert. Force Michigan State to vacate wins for games that admitted steroid abuser Tony Mandarich played in. Do the same for any win Oklahoma came up with when Brian Bosworth was playing. And while you're at it, how about addressing these two words: Reggie Bush. And that would just cover your Friday morning.

The fact of the matter is that the NCAA needs Alabama football, just like it needs USC, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and every other superstar program, yet instead of handing out real punishment for its own bizarre rules, it weasels out of having to do anything tough by forcing programs to vacate wins. Like the Alabama record books aren't going to acknowledge the 2005 to 2007 seasons, anyway.

Yes, Alabama might get nailed for being a repeat violator and might have to lose scholarships and other things based on this latest incident, but none of it matters. The wins happened, Alabama football will be a powerhouse again this year and for the next several seasons under Nick Saban, and life will go on.

Alabama's 2009 team doesn't care. The team is 100% focused on Virginia Tech and isn't going to care about a little bit of bookkeeping. More to the point, this punishment, if you can call it that, isn't going to stop unpaid college players with no money and no way of making any extra income from breaking a few goofy rules.

So now the ball is in your court, NCAA. Either start governing major college athletics and come up with punishments with some teeth to them, or stop wasting everyone's time by pretending to have some sort of real authority. And while you're at it, how about tailoring your rules so they're not begging to be busted. No one's following them anyway, so it's time to undergo an overhaul on how you conduct your business.

And along the way, Alabama has a message for you ... vacate this.