Sport Opinion: NCAA misses mark on Notre Dame, proves again vacating wins is stupid

22:05  14 february  2018
22:05  14 february  2018 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Vacating wins doesn't work, and the NCAA proved that once again with Notre Dame .

Opinion . Notre Dame will be forced to vacate victories in the 2012 and 2013 football season after the NCAA infractions panel found a student-trainer committed academic misconduct involving eight players.

Brian Kelly wearing a white shirt: Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly© (Getty Images) Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly

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The NCAA denied Notre Dame's appeal of a decision that vacates 21 victories from its 2012 and '13 seasons because of an academic misconduct scandal, wiping the Irish's undefeated 2012 regular season off the record books.

Only, it doesn't; it just makes the penalty needlessly complicated. Why is vacating wins still a punishment?

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Opinion . SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame will appeal the NCAA Division I Committee of Infractions’ recommendation to vacate its victories from the 2012 and 2013 seasons on the grounds that the penalty is excessive.

By the end of this November, the NCAA ’s ruling recommending that Notre Dame vacate its 21 total victories from 2012 (12-1) and 2013 (9-4) because of self-reported academic fraud would make the Fighting Irish hard pressed to ever reach the top again in the winning percentage category

MORE: NCAA denies ND appeal, vacates wins

When ESPN College GameDay's Rece Davis commented on the practice ahead of last season's Texas-USC game, the NCAA should have taken what he said and immediately added it to its rulebook:

"Vacating games," Davis began, "Is stupid. It only irritates fans and confuses statisticians and we all saw the game. It's one of the great memories and no rule or vacating can change that memory."

This decision managed to be all of that: stupid, irritating and confusing. It's yet another example of the NCAA's inconsistent, ineffective punishments. That was certainly Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins' take as he subsequently ripped the ruling (note the mic-drop at the end).

"The NCAA has not chosen to ignore academic autonomy; it has instead perverted it by divorcing it from its logical and necessary connection to the underlying educational purpose. As noted above, Notre Dame's exercise of academic autonomy in the form of the rigorous application of the University's Honor Code was the source of the underlying violation on which the vacation of wins penalty is based. Although all parties acknowledged that Notre Dame did everything right in response to the academic misconduct, the University is now told that it must live with severe sanctions for its actions."

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The NCAA has denied Notre Dame 's appeal of a decision to vacate 21 football victories because of academic misconduct, including all 12 wins from the school's Notre Dame was the national runner-up during the 2012 season, losing to Alabama in the BCS title game and finishing with a 12-1 mark .

Opinion . The NCAA has denied Notre Dame 's appeal of a decision to vacate 21 victories because of academic misconduct, including all 12 wins from the school's 2012 national championship game run.

What exactly does this punishment accomplish?

An act intended to deter egregious violations hasn't been applied correctly, and now Notre Dame, one of the college football's most influential brands, is at odds with the NCAA. The program is now being compared to North Carolina, which didn't get punished after a lengthy academic misconduct investigation. There's the inconsistency.

What's more, the Irish didn't learn a lesson with this punishment, except maybe not to be so forthright in future dealings with the NCAA. There's your ineffectiveness.

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When you parse out Davis' statement back in September, which of course referenced the legendary 2006 Rose Bowl, it makes it clear vacating wins shouldn't be a punishment at all.

"Vacating games is stupid."

If you want to put an asterisk next to the season, that's fine. But wins and losses should be left on the field. Whenever wins are vacated, the focus always shifts to the victories and away from the source of the academic misconduct — a part-time student assistant, in this case — and how to ensure it never happens again.

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Opinion . WHAT'S THE PUNISHMENT: The NCAA ordered Notre Dame to vacate 12 wins from the 2012 season and nine more from 2013.

According to Brian Kelly, Notre Dame will vacate all wins from both the 2012 season and the 2013 season after the NCAA 's findings. Former Ole Miss Players Say They Were Misled by Hugh Freeze in Transfer Appeal.

"It only irritates fans and confuses statisticians."

When the NCAA punished Penn State in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, it took away 111 of Joe Paterno's wins, unfortunately becoming a heated talking point in the horrifying scandal. The NCAA later capitulated, giving those wins back in 2015. What if the NCAA decides for some reason to take them back again?

When the NCAA gave Penn State its wins back, it should have been a clear indicator this type of punishment shouldn't be used again. Look at the Irish: Jenkins called the ruling "severe sanctions" even though, in theory, it shouldn't be that big of a deal. Can you really change what already happened?

Apparently you can. Notre Dame drops to sixth on the all-time wins list as a result of the punishments, but three other schools in the top 12 have vacated wins since 2000. Ohio State, Alabama and USC also have vacated wins, and that just leads to the confusion Davis referenced. Again, leave the wins on the field.

MORE: USC claims undefeated record vs. Texas, citing vacated Rose Bowl

“We all saw the game."

NCAA denies Notre Dame appeal of vacated wins from 2011-12

  NCAA denies Notre Dame appeal of vacated wins from 2011-12 The NCAA has denied Notre Dame's appeal of a decision to vacate 21 victories because of academic misconduct, including all 12 wins from the school's 2012 national championship game run. In a letter to Notre Dame alumni, University President Fr. John Jenkins criticized the decision, saying the penalty was unprecedented considering who was involved in the misconduct, and the school was being punished for rigorously enforcing its honor code. He called the ruling unfair, referencing the recent North Carolina case in which the NCAA did not punish the school after an investigation of athletes taking irregular courses.

- The NCAA has ordered the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to vacate all the wins from their 2012 and 2013 football seasons in an academic misconduct case, it was Notre Dame was the national runner-up during the 2012 season, losing to Alabama in the BCS title game and finishing with a 12-1 mark .

Opinion . The NCAA has ordered Notre Dame to vacate its football wins from the 2012 and 2013 seasons after denying the school’s appeal of sanctions tied to academic misconduct.

We saw the 2006 Rose Bowl and the Pete Carroll heyday. USC forfeited 25 victories from 2004-05, but it doesn't change what we remember about Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and others of the era. Beyond that, the punishment didn't settle.

USC emerged from a two-year bowl ban as the preseason No. 1 in 2012. Ohio State vacated 13 wins from 2010 and served a one-year bowl ban, a season in which the Buckeyes finished 12-0 under Urban Meyer.

Bowl bans, like vacated wins, are an outdated punishment: Take away scholarships instead. Fine the athletic department — fine the school. Hit the wallet, not the record book. And be consistent. That's how the NCAA can dole out real punishment and regain some much-needed credibility.

Schools don't want to lose those wins, and it has led to a further disconnect with the NCAA. Notre Dame is just the latest and, perhaps, the most glaring example yet. Jenkins even threw that word in there the NCAA hates to hear. "Autonomy."

The more that word gets used, the more likely the big-money schools like Notre Dame, USC and Penn State will go off to do their own thing. And you know what?

They won't be taking those vacated punishments with them.

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