Alabama Probation: Is the BCS Playing Favorites?

Eddie DzurillaCorrespondent IDecember 26, 2009

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 27:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 27, 2009 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

This past summer, on June 11, 2009 to be exact, the NCAA announced that the Crimson Tide of Alabama football program, along with 15 of the schools other athletic teams, was on probation for three years.

Same old story . These guys violate their probation more than members of the Crypts, Bloods, and Hell’s Angels. Except, because they are a hallowed BCS Conference school, repeated violations lead to nothing more than a tap on the wrist.


This is the fourth time in 14 years that the program has been on probation

As a matter of fact, they were only OFF probation for only 16 months before this last faux paux. Apparently, this time around, the so-called student athletes were using their free text book privileges for their no scholarship buddies, and to generate some pocket change.

In 1995, the football team was placed on three-year probation, lost 25 scholarships, 11 victories, and a chance to play in a bowl game as a result of incidents involving players, boosters and sports agents.

In 2002, the team was placed under NCAA probation for five years, lost 21 scholarships, and received a two-year postseason ban—all resulting from 10 major violations, most involving boosters illegally supplying cash to recruits.

This is where it gets a bit interesting.


The Coaches Vote, a key component of the BCS rankings, specifically prohibits “voting for schools on major probation.”  

This point was, in fact, mentioned in an editorial in today’s Fort Worth Star Telegram by writer Jennifer Floyd Engel and quickly pounced upon by the local blogging community.


Alabama fans and supporters counter that the most recent probation, since it does not exclude post season play, is not considered a “major” violation.

This, to say the least, is a bit of a gray area. What constitutes a “major” violation is not explicitly spelled out in the coaches voting rules. It just states not to vote for someone on such. Thus, most people are taking the position that a “major” violation is only one in which the team is not allowed to play in post season and/or players are suspended permanently;I think not.

This is a program that, as aforementioned, has been on the hot seat four times in the past 14 years.

One that can’t stay out of trouble. The NCAA’s direct quote on the latest troubles stated, "Although the committee commends the institution for self-discovering, investigating, and reporting the textbook violations, it remains troubled, nonetheless, by the scope of the violations in this instance and by the institution's recent history of infractions cases.”

In other words, thanks for reporting it, but this is serious and your continued screw ups make it more serious. Sounds like a "major" violation to me.

Should Alabama be playing Texas in the BCS championship?

Or should the coaches adhere to the dictates of their poll rules and not vote for the Tide due to their continued lack of responsibility and utter disdain for the rules?

I realize that it’s too late now because all of the big money advertisers, television honchos, bowl sponsors, local tourist industry, and so on are committed to the Texas versus Bama matchup. But, if the BCS were honest and enforced their own voting rules, the Tide wouldn’t be here in the first place.

Unfortunately, as the BCS continues to show us via stunts like their relegating TCU and Boise State to the “Kid’s Table” Bowl, the big uns’ get to play be very different rules.  Because of this, the coaches' poll get to ignore that Alabama is, in fact, on a major probation.

Roll, Tide, Roll. To the BCS Hypocrite Bowl.


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