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NCAA Sanctions and Vacated Games

With bowl season upon us a tweet from @VT_Football prompted an outcry of Florida State fans. And honestly the options of Seminole Nation should be taken seriously by the NCAA.

NCAA Sanctions and Vacated Games

Championship Week is upon us and with that marks the begging of the end of another NCAA football season.

As our twitter feed was littered with potential bowl births and talk of playoff spots this morning there was one tweet that stood out.

If you notice at the bottom of their graphic they have to include the phrase “As recognized by the NCAA”.

Why do they have to include that you might ask?  It all stems from sanctions put on FSU back in 2009 that encompassed 10 different sports over the 2006 and 2007 athletic seasons.  Student athletes at Florida State were involved in an academic cheating scandal, unbeknownst to their respective coaches, and the NCAA dropped the hammer with sanctions even though the University was fully compliant with the investigation and brought down punishments of its own in the process.

You can read ESPN’s article on the incident here.

I’m not here to condone the actions of these athletes.  They should have been punished.  Take away scholarships, suspend them from games, etc.  But punishments should only be brought down on those involved.  Unless you can prove that an entire team knew of the incident and didn’t report it then why must as entire team suffer the consequences?

But that’s not what happened.  Instead the NCAA decides the games in which these athletes competed in must be vacated.  If that’s the case then do the teams they beat (or that beat FSU) not get to count those games in their own record books as well?

The domino effect is just too broad to allow this as a plausible form of punishment.

If you browse the internet and do a search for “NCAA Football Bowl Streaks” you will find that every outlet that posts active bowl streaks lists FSU as the top team.  Some will even snicker that their list may include teams that had vacated games/wins due to NCAA sanctions.

Point being, the NCAA for whatever reason decided to give former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno his vacated wins back (well over 100 of them) after enough high-and-mighty people in Pennsylvania raised enough fuss.  And I would assume that having your top assistant coach implicated in a child molestation scandal is a much greater offense than cheating in an online class that cost Bobby Bowden 12 wins and put an asterisk on their bowl streak.

So while the student body at Virginia Tech and the NCAA governing body may recognize the Hokies with the nation’s longest active bowl streak the rest of the country knows that FSU will be playing in its 35th straight bowl game this year.  That would tie the NCAA record set by the Nebraska Cornhuskers (1969-2005).

If only someone with enough muscle would stand up to the NCAA to petition for the Seminoles bowl streak to be officially recognized because apparently the NCAA can’t maintain consistency in their own rulings.

But that’s another soapbox topic for another day.

Wishing you all a very Happy Holiday season, enjoy some championship football this weekend, and get ready for the barrage of bowl games set to come your way.

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