Wednesday, June 10, 2009

a lost Wednesday, but not a "Lost" Wednesday

Ever since news came to light that NCAA sanctions could be announced today (Wednesday), I've had the same stomach-in-knots feeling people usually get when they're approaching a big test: sure, I want to get it over with so we can all move on; part of me also wishes it was 2 weeks away so I could keep putting it off.

In any case, turns out the news is expected to be released tomorrow, but through "anonymous sources" (read: Mal keeping his name out of it) we now know what it will be, at least in football terms:
  • 3 years probation
  • Vacating of 10 victories
  • Minimal scholarship loss (if any)
None of that is especially serious, obviously. The probation is notable only because of the repeat offender statute, which is how the hateful era from 2003-2007 came about in the first place. And the vacating of wins -- while ignominious -- isn't something anyone will even care about two years from now (Vanderbilt's media guide recognizes the team's last win over Alabama in 1984, not 1993 even though officially that win is theirs).
Two thoughts and then it's off to bed ...
-- First, anger toward the NCAA: is all this over five kids? Five kids who, once they were caught, were suspended for the balance of the season? Five kids who took advantage of a goofy loophole and were punished accordingly?
(Note: because so much of the report was redacted per Alabama's option, we don't know whether more football players are involved here. And if they are, obviously, this rant is a pointless exercise.)
-- But, like Brent over at 8Box, the point isn't the nature of the penalties (or even the draconian nature of the NCAA, which has yet to seriously punish Tennessee or USC for its continual flouting of regulations). The point is that we were ever in danger of these sanctions in the first place. For God's sake, we just went through this -- not 10 years ago but through the balance of this decade. How did we get back here?

I believe Nick Saban -- work-obsessed and ego-maniacal though he may be -- knows what's at stake here and will run a rigid ship, just as he has to this point.
Even so, I hate going through all this again.

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