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Oklahoma Vacates 2005 Season

Apologies for getting to some of these stories a little after the fact. I'm still catching up from being away last week.

DC Trojan had a nice take on the OU situation but I thought I would throw my .02 cents in.

A lot has been made of the NCAA vacating OU's wins from the 2005 football season. I for one find it to be a non-issue. For the fans of Texas or Oklahoma State there is dancing in the streets and partying like it is 1999.

I would agree that some of things that I have read over this issue in the past few months over at Burnt Orange Nation have made me chuckle but Peter Bean's general dislike for all things OU has always been tempered in humor and not just an unhealthy hatred for his bitter rival. Yes, the boys in powder blue from across town are also salivating at the opportunity to have the same sort of celebration in regards to USC. We'll see gents but you may be disappointed as the NCAA has hit a stone wall in regards to anyone cooperating and without cooperation you can't have an investigation. Because they are mired in mediocrity they can only take their frustrations out on those that they despise.

Pete Fiutak from CFN brings up some interesting observations in his article on Wednesday and he takes an interesting trip down memory lane all the way back to John Wooden.

[...] The oppressive, self-serving organization forced OU to forfeit all eight of the wins from 2005, and now the can of worms is open wide as far as what should come next. As you read this, the words Reggie and Bush are probably all over LSU and Oklahoma message boards.

It's all silly. I don't care that the wins don't technically count. You don't care that the wins don't technically count. Anyone with a brain doesn't care that the wins don't technically count. Those games happened, and that can't be changed. Or can they? .

I said essentially the same thing both here on CC and on SBN's Oklahoma Blog Crimson and Cream Machine. The only people that seem to care about the outcome are all of the USC haters out there and their opinions to most USC fans don't amount to much.

What the NCAA should've done is punish OU with a bowl ban or scholarship limitations. If the organization really had any teeth, it would force the school to pay back all revenues from games played with the "illegal" players. I don't believe any of that should really happen, but it makes far more sense than taking away wins on games that actually happened. So, if we're going to do this, then let's really, really do this.

I would agree with Fiutak that OU's punishment is a slap on the wrist. Sure they lose a small amount of schollies but they get to keep the bowl money they earned that season and don't lose future bowl game privileges or TV money. Losing those is where it really hits you hard, and it just goes to show you that the NCAA has got it all screwed up in how they police their sports programs. Of course all the screaming and gnashing of teeth from the likes of BN or DumpDorrell are fun to observe as they demand some form of justice but their opinions are for their readers and don't necessarily speak for everyone else out there.

But Fiutak also draws the lineage as to how the NCAA became such a toothless wonder.

Therefore ...

- You have to go all the way now that the precedent has been reestablished. John Wooden's ten national titles at UCLA? Bu-bye, thanks to Sam Gilbert. The national titles under Bear Bryant at Alabama? Memorex. In fact, you can pretty much wipe away anything that happened in the SEC, Southwest Conference and Big 8 before the mid-1980s, (and really, you can dump the all-time record books altogether on those conferences if you honestly want to punish teams for booster involvement). Actually, you can forget about most of the national champions in both football and basketball. If you're really going to do this, NCAA, then do it.

Now you have done it Pete! Your inbox is about to be flooded with hate mail from all those bruin fans that hold everything about John Wooden sacred and near and dear to their hearts. You will be beaten into submission with demands of proof about Gilbert and such and be forced to retract those words just like Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports was forced to do last year after his piece on Wooden was deemed a hit piece by those chosen to protect the reputation of Wooden like a knight protecting the Holy Grail.

In the end nobody cares except for a few rabid rivals who are frustrated by their programs lack of production and sense that they belong in the national discussion. They need to win something first before they act like they some sense of entitlement outside of the circles that they run in. They certainly don't have a care for what is in our best interests so I am not concerned about the blather they spew forth.

But to me here is the kicker:

[...] Oklahoma won those games, whether or not Bomar and Quinn were given a few hundred dollars, a few million, or a ham sandwich. Had they gambled on the games, been caught using steroids or human growth hormones (just wait until that Pandora's Box opens up), or had been guilty of actually messing with the games themselves, then the forfeiture of wins might be justified. Then you're talking about the integrity of the game, as opposed to what amounts to a thumbing the nose at an antiquated and unfair policy.

Someday, someone will realize that it's absolutely fine for college players to accept gifts, money, cars, whatever from boosters, or anyone who wants to provide the swag. When that happens, Oklahoma will get the eight wins back from 2005. For most of us, those wins will have never left Norman.

Of course, the purists out there will probably go nuts over that statement. Someone is going to have to explain to me how the play on the field was affected by Bush's parents getting a free ride or by how that player from ucla receiving a bag of groceries. The integrity of organized sports was compromised years ago so I'm not sure why people are up in arms about it. I am by no means saying that we should accept it but throwing ourselves off a cliff or lighting our hair on fire over it isn't going to change a thing. Severe punishment, from the powers-that-be, is the only way to set up a deterrent but even then you won't stop it completely.

Dave from SBN's Oregon Blog Addicted to Quack also has some interesting thoughts.

Now, I'm not naive enough to think that there is such a thing as a clean program in major college football. In fact, I can guarantee you that every BCS school is guilty of some sort of violations. However, there are varying degrees of this. And it seems pretty evident that certain schools, schools with big tradition and a really rabid booster base, are much more dirty than others. Judging from the last ten years, we can be fairly certain that Alabama, Oklahoma, and USC fall within that group. Who else? At this point we don't know, and we probably never will.

I think Dave is right about ALL programs having some degree of violations occur at other programs some one is always looking to cut corners even if it is just teensy-weensy bit but I take issue with Dave's point about booster involvement when it comes to USC. That has not been the issue and I would challenge him to show me where in the last 10 years where SC's boosters have been involved with the issues that currently involve USC.

But Dave is also right about the NCAA attempting to right-the-ship once upon a time:

You may remember, once upon a time, when the NCAA was actually serious about cleaning up the sport. Southern Methodist, a college football powerhouse in the '80s, was so run amuck with booster abuse that the NCAA gave SMU the death penalty--completely shut the program down for a season. The carnage was so devistating for SMU that the program has never recovered. The NCAA had its chance here to send a message and create a major deterrent to booster abuse: you try to cheat, this is waht can happen to the program you love. But the NCAA went a different route. They decided that the result was so bad, they could never let this happen to one of their major programs again. So the next time rampant booster abuse raged in a program, Alabama in the late '90s, the NCAA scarcely considered the death penalty a possibility.

I am fully prepared for some form of punishment from the NCAA and I would be shocked if there wasn't any, this story is way too big and the ramifications way too important for the NCAA not to do something about it. But, regardless of the outcome it will not change the fact that USC is the premier football program right now and that Pete Carroll is the best coach out there. Humiliation is lot like the flu, over time it goes away. I could care less if people call us a bunch of cheaters...I would say cheaters at what? As Fiutak said the integrity of the game has not been assaulted. To me, it is what matters on the field. I am not these players' mothers or over-seers so they do need to some sense of accountability. I may not like it when they break the rules and I will all ways have an opinion on these sorts of issues but in the end at least to me, it is for others to worry about.

The way that SC has jumped on the throat of most of college football, except for a couple of key games, shows me that they will always be in the discussion. The love fest from the MSM has been so over exposed that it is nauseating at times so we shouldn't really be surprised at all of anger towards our program. The mock outrage that Stewie Mandel puts forth is laughable because he has been just as guilty in building SC up so now he has to tear them down. It's a typical journalistic tactic but that's not our fault we just have to deal with it and there is probably a lot more success and scrutiny to come.