"Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak. " - Sun Tzu
I hate it when vacated victories are considered punishment. Mostly because some people take it seriously and treat it like the curb stomping of a program when it actually does little in the way of punishing the deserving.
Take Ohio State.. Please (rimshot)
You see the Buckeye's find themselves in the middle of a scandal that dwarfs anything going on at Auburn, or North Carolina, or even back in the day at USC. In each of those cases coaches had plausible deniability.
Pete Carroll can just say "I had no clue what was going on, perhaps something shady was going on between the boosters and Reggie Bush but I had no part of it. Now the Boosters are outside of the chain of command, there really is nothing you can do to them. Carroll moved on, as did Bush.
Now I don't believe for a second he was completely ignorant but there is no direct evidence he knew what was going on, and we live in an innocent until proven guilty society.
The same can be said for most college scandals. Most of the "big ones" become nothing but a matter of two partied denying something happened and the NCAA acts on circumstantial evidence. But the recent shenanigans at OSU are a completely different beast.
The Buckeye scandal was a one two punch. The jab happened when OSU officials were told of the memorabilia trading and sales in December and suspended five players for the first five games of 2011 and one player for the opener.
These player frequented a tattoo parlor where sold autographs, signed equipment, championship rings and even a bowl sportsmanship awards. Whether or not you think they should be able to do this there is no question current rules prevent it.
Now the dirty part of this was that those five players still got to play in a BCS bowl game. That any coach would let them step onto the field was bad enough, that the NCAA trusted this was adequate punishment was maddening.
That was Ohio acting strong when they were weak. The thought goes that this was a minor affair and it was so recent that there was no point suspending the players until there was due process, even if they had done something wrong.
The right hook came when OSU learned that Coach Jim Tressel knew about the violations since April of the previous year. They tried to quell the backlash and accepted a self imposed fine and five game suspension but eventually it got too hot and he was pressured him to resign.
But it gets even better!
Pryor was supposed to be 'punished' by missing the first four games of this season. Who would have guessed he would skip out into the supplemental draft (besides me). Still the NCAA added a five-game suspension for yet another player earlier this week.
So to sum up, to this point the Coach involved 'retired', the star QB involved will be moving onto the NFL, if not some other professional league. And several other OSU players are being asked to sit out the non conference slate during the 2011 season.
Most people knew this was not going to be enough, so tonight OSU decided to head of the NCAA and 'punish themselves'. Finally the Buckeyes are acting weak when they are strong.
Tonight, we find out OSU just keeps trying to get out of this. According to teh Associate Press OSU has decided to "Vacate" all of their wins from 2010.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State's 2010 Big Ten championship, its 12-1 season, its victories over rival Michigan and in the Allstate Sugar Bowl -- all gone. Coach Jim Tressel is out and so is star quarterback Terrell Pryor. -AP
This gets me full circle back to the concept of vacating wins. In my opinion a vacated win should be the result of a punishment, not a punishment itself
Does vacating wins take money out of the athletic departments hands? Will it keep them off of TV next season? Will it keep them from selling OSU to recruits?
Right now those players who cheated are walking around with the memory of playing in the sugar bowl, a game that the university did deserve to play in. The Buckeye's are enjoying whatever they purchased with the BCS check, and you can be sure someone is planning the TV schedule for "the big 10 network", a schedule that OSU will use to sell the university to this years crop of recruits.
By just about every measure this was worse than anything Reggie Bush did. Self sanctions be damned, a failure by the NCAA to come down even harder on the Buckeye's than the Trojans will be the most massive abrogation of their responsibility of the modern era.