Fifteen months ago the original sanctions were handed down. Six months ago yesterday the appeal was denied. This is about compelling the University of Alabama to capitulate. It is about making the Tide publicly admit in all places its wrongdoing, but as sophisticated and attuned as the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa is to everything college football, six months later it fails to comply with NCAA mandates. Alabama is like the recalcitrant child who refuses to stay in time-out when he could have been made to clean out horse stalls for the next month.
On June 11, 2009 the NCAA Committee on Infractions found that because more than 200 student athletes, 22 intentionally, received improper benefits, that the University of Alabama failed to monitor the campus text book system, and that because Alabama was a repeat offender, the University of Alabama’s self-imposed sanctions were inadequate. Instead of a post-season ban, loss of scholarships, or even the “death penalty,” the Committee ordered the University of Alabama to vacate football wins in which any of the seven football players identified as “intentional wrongdoers” participated. Alabama appealed “only the Committee on Infractions’ imposition of vacation of records in football, men’s tennis and the men’s and women’s track and field programs.” The NCAA’s Division I Infractions Appeals Committee denied the appeal and reaffirmed the Committee on Infractions’ orders on March 23, 2010. NCAA.org, News Release, Report of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Infractions Appeals Committee, March 23, 2010, Report No. 299, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.
Six months to the day after the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee affirmed sanctions on the University of Alabama, the University fails to comply fully and completely with NCAA orders involving the one issue it appealed, vacation of wins. The NCAA’s affirmed order stated:
Therefore, pursuant to NCAA Bylaws 188.8.131.52-(e)-(2) and 184.108.40.206-(b), the institution will vacate all wins in which any of the seven football student-athletes identified by the institution as “intentional wrongdoers” competed while ineligible during the 2005-06 through 2007-08 academic years… The institution’s records regarding all of the involved sports, as well as the records of the head coaches of those sports will reflect the vacated records and will be recorded in all publications in which these records are reported, including, but not limited to, institution media guides, recruiting material, electronic and digital media plus institution and NCAA archives.
However, the Official University of Alabama website, www.rolltide.com which is partnered with CBSSports.com College Network, according to information found on rolltide.com, continues to publish numerous records without change and without acknowledgment that the record is vacated as of this writing.
(In the event the pages at the above links are removed or altered, the schedule and game-by game stats for 2007-2008 may be found here as printed to file on March 23, 2010.)
(In the event the pages at the above links are removed or altered, the schedule and game-by game stats for 2006-2007 may be found here as printed to file on March 23, 2010.)
(In the event the pages at the above links are removed or altered, the schedule and game-by game stats for 2005-2006 may be found here as printed to file on March 23-24, 2010.)
Football win-loss records and season and game-by-game statistics for 2005 through 2007 fail to acknowledge in any manner that any wins are vacated for major violations of NCAA Rules while on repeat-offender status despite being given the lesser penalty of vacation of wins.
This began innocently enough. In my last post, No. 10 Arkansas Vs. No. 1 Alabama: 50 Cool And Must-Have Stats and Facts, I wrote:
No. 3 The official conference record between Alabama and Arkansas since 1992 has Alabama with 10 wins and Arkansas with 8.
Reader “wooiesooie” responded:
“Hang on a second, though. The statement was ‘since 1992′ Alabama leads 10-8. We have only played 18 times since then. So if they have vacated 2 wins, the record stands at 8-8. Am I missing something here?”
Learning and improving, albeit where everyone can see, are always worthy so the time was right for more precision than had been previously used.
Initially, Alabama forfeited the 1993 game because of Alabama player Antonio Langham’s involvement with an agent and subsequent sanctions. The fact was reflected in the stated 8-10 record. Secondly, the fact that the NCAA affirmed the sanctions against Alabama earlier this year flew under this writer’s radar screen.
The following article lays out the issues fairly well. NCAA Upholds Vacated Wins in University of Alabama’s Textbook Case Gentry Estes, Mobile Press-Register, March 23, 2010.
A list of the wins and losses below from Hog Database’s Research Wizard, Filter :From(Season), 1992; Opponent Team, Alabama reflects the 1993 forfeit where it shows the score being 3-43 but reflects a win for an 8-10 record without accounting for Alabama’s two vacated wins in 2005 and 2007.
Sept. 19, 1992 Alabama Loss 11 – 38
Sept. 18, 1993 Alabama Win 3 – 43
Sept. 17, 1994 Alabama Loss 6 – 13
Sept. 16, 1995 Alabama Win 20 – 19
Sept. 21, 1996 Alabama Loss 7 – 17
Sept. 20, 1997 Alabama Win 17 – 16
Sept. 26, 1998 Alabama Win 42 – 6
Sept. 25, 1999 Alabama Loss 28 – 35
Sept. 23, 2000 Alabama Win 28 – 21
Sept. 22, 2001 Alabama Loss 10 – 31
Sept. 28, 2002 Alabama Loss 12 – 30
Sept. 27, 2003 Alabama Win 34 – 31
Sept. 25, 2004 Alabama Win 27 – 10
Sept. 24, 2005 Alabama Loss 13 – 24
Sept. 23, 2006 Alabama Win 24 – 23
Sept. 15, 2007 Alabama Loss 38 – 41
Sept. 20, 2008 Alabama Loss 14 – 49
Sept. 26, 2009 Alabama Loss 7 – 35
In its report above, the NCAA Appeals Committee says that Alabama “vacates” all football wins in which seven Alabama Football players designated as “intentional wrongdoers” played. Of course, the report does not list the names of those athletes. An al.com - BamaBeat report fills in some of the gap saying:
Five former Crimson Tide football players — Antoine Caldwell, Glen Coffee, Marlon Davis, Marquis Johnson and Chris Rogers — were suspended four games during the 2007 season as a result of the school’s self-initiated textbook investigation, which led to “major violations,” in the eyes of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.
Although it may be a good assumption that al.com checked the official player participation reports in the games involving the University of Arkansas, official player participation stats found at arkansasrazorbacks.com for the Arkansas v. Alabama game on Sept. 24, 2005 (pdf), reveal that at least Glen Coffee played, and “LG A. Caldwell” played.
Alabama lost the 2006 game with Arkansas so a “vacated win” is not involved.
For the game played Sept. 15, 2007, the player participation stats show Coffee, Caldwell, Johnson, Davis, and Rogers played.
Simple, right? Take two wins from Alabama and call it a day?
The NCAA does not define either “forfeit” or “vacate” in its 2008-2009 NCAA Bylaws which applied to Alabama’s sanctions above. The reason is likely that NCAA does not want to be tied down to what those words mean in every instance so that as new rules are developed to address the problem of the last few years, each word can have an additional meaning. The context does provide some guidance.
In the 2010-2011 version of the NCAA Bylaws, “forfeit” occurs 9 times. Two of the nine refer to a player forfeiting eligibility. Two of the times “forfeit” seems to have an expected meaning. For instance, when restitution is paid then the contest is forfeited to the other side, like Alabama’s 1993 forfeit above. But then the Bylaws throw out the common use of “forfeit” and make the word do cartwheels:
A contest shall be licensed only if it serves the purpose of providing a national contest between deserving winning teams. A “deserving winning team” shall be defined as one that has won a minimum of six games against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents and that has more wins than losses. Tie games do not count in determining a team’s won-lost record. Further, when forfeiture of a regular-season football victory is required by the Committee on Infractions, a conference or self-imposed by an institution as a result of a violation of NCAA rules, neither of the competing institutions may count that contest in satisfying the definition of a “deserving winning team.”
In this instance, the better term for “forfeit” is “no contest.”
The NCAA Bylaws reference “vacate” several times:
19.5 “Forfeit/vacate contests in which an eligible student-athlete participated;”
220.127.116.11 “Individual records and performance shall be vacated or stricken;”
18.104.22.168 “Team records and performances shall be vacated or stricken;”
19.7 “Require that individual records and performances achieved during participation by such ineligible student-athlete shall be vacated or stricken;”
19.7 “Require that team records and performances achieved during participation by such ineligible student-athlete shall be vacated or stricken;”
22.214.171.124 “Team Competition. The record of the team’s performance may be deleted, the team’s place in the final standings may be vacated, and the team’s trophy and the ineligible student’s award may be returned to the Association.”
These references are fairly standard across the NCAA Bylaw editions. For “vacated” wins, it is clear that team and individual performance records of the offending team or student-athlete are stricken. The NCAA Appeals Infractions Committee ordered Alabama to vacate wins in the way the Bylaws use the word “vacate.”
Hopefully, most of “forfeit” still means to surrender the contest to the other side and that to the victor goes the win. During the season it looks like the NCAA lets geldings run with colts.
Who knows what is supposed to be done with vacated wins from the opponent’s side of the fence?
The better rule for “forfeit” is to let it mean exactly what it is supposed to mean. The other side wins by default. For “vacate” the better rule is to declare it as a “no contest” for the other side in terms of wins and losses.
Ultimately wooiesooie has the better position that the record since 1992 is 8-8, but it is ridiculous that no one can be sure.
What does it take for the University of Alabama to comply?
The NCAA should reconsider Alabama’s probation status for its non-compliance with its rules of probation. It is time for Johnny to get a pitchfork and shovel. He needs to learn his lesson.