It surely happened

January 27th, 2011

Shortly after Auburn University defeated the University of Oregon to win the BCS National Championship, ESPN’s Bill Simmons tweeted, “Congrats to Auburn for winning the 2011 title. And congrats in advance to Oregon for winning it retroactively in 2013.”

Auburn was led by Heisman Trophy winner Cameron Newton, the do-it-all quarterback who was ruled ineligible for a day after NCAA investigators looked into claims that Newton lost his amateur status when his father initiated a pay-for-play scheme.

Newton was re-instated after it was ruled he had no knowledge of his father’s wrongdoing, but there’s still the (small) chance down the road the NCAA could discover that Newton knew of the violations. In that case, Oregon would be the national champion.

There’s precedence for that happening, as the NCAA has stripped teams of wins retroactively after finding rules violations. In many cases, it has been years after the violations occurred when the penalty was finally handed down. It makes no sense.

More than a year after the University of Memphis lost to the University of Kansas in the 2008 men’s basketball national championship, the NCAA stripped the Tigers of all 38 wins they earned in 2007-08 because they used an ineligible player, believed to be Derrick Rose.

The official record book says Kansas won the national championship, but has no mention of Memphis being in the championship game. The NCAA can say that Memphis wasn’t in the Final Four, but we all know they were. We saw them. 

John Calipari, who coached that Memphis team in 2007-08, also had his Final Four run in 1995-96 with the University of Massachusetts vacated after their star player, Marcus Camby, was ruled ineligible for accepting money and gifts from an agent.

The same thing happened with former University of Southern California star Reggie Bush. The Trojans vacated wins from his time there because he broke NCAA rules. Bush was removed from record books, and it’s just a silly, worthless punishment.

He went there and played. He won a ton of games and we all watched. To say otherwise is just untrue. 

The NCAA can put an asterisk next to records if they want, but to me, vacating wins and saying things didn’t happen when we all saw them serves little purpose.

Once the season ends, what’s done is done. Let’s let it be.