On Friday, Ohio State University athletics director Gene Smith announced that the school was going to vacate each of their wins from a 12-1 season in 2010. This includes their victory over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl which is of course a BCS Bowl Game.
Vacating wins is symbolic, and it robs the participants the future comfort of strolling on campus and seeing their achievements commemorated from decades before. Perhaps it deprives former players from future feel-good moments.
But ultimately, it is mostly white noise. A smokescreen. A public relations ploy to curry favor with the big bad sheriff known as the NCAA in the hopes that feigned severity/sincerity of self-imposed sanctions will lead to softer penalties.
I say enough with the bullspit.
If schools are genuinely remorseful about wrongdoing, then it’s time to start putting your money where your mouth is and vacate revenues earned from using ineligible players rather than vacating wins.
We all agree that part of the reason why the frequency of cheating in college athletics is so prevalent is because of the money involved. The economist in me says that if you raise the costs associated with committing the crime, you’ll see greater deterrence and less crime.
Vacating wins is nothing more than feigned let’s be tough on ourselves rhetoric. It’s grandstanding and groveling all at once, and the more I see it the more disingenuous it feels.