After months of waiting, the NCAA has finally delivered our sanctions related to the textbook scandal.As a recap, Iím sure all of you remember the textbook scandal of 2007, where Chris Rogers, Antoine Caldwell, Glen Coffee, Marlon Davis, and Marquis Johnson were all suspended due to improper use of the student athlete textbook subsidy program.I donít know all the details, but the long and short of it is that these guys evidently got textbooks that were optional for the courses they were taking, and gave them to family members and friends for their personal use.Of course, this is the worst violation that any athlete can possibly commit, so even though we suspended these players for the Tennessee game (immediately after it was discovered), and kept them suspended until they were reinstated by the NCAA, the NCAA decided that they needed to come back in and levy some additional penalties.
Before I get into the specifics of the penalties, I should say that it appears that this problem was much more rampant in other sports than it was in football.I know that track and field has been singled out as having many more athletes doing this type of thing, so it wasnít isolated to (or even predominantly in) football.Also, since this activity was mainly going on during Shulaís regime, it fell under our probation window from the Albert Means case in 2000, which made us a repeat offender.Coupled with the fact that the idiots in our administration decided to go in pleading guilty to ďFailure to MonitorĒ, there was no way that we were going to come out of this mess unscathed, and we certainly didnít.
So what did we get?You probably already heard, but basically, we have to ďvacateĒ 21 wins from the 2005, 2006, and 2007 seasons.Basically, that includes all of the 2005 and 2006 seasons, and all of the 2007 victories up to the point where those players were suspended.So all those wins no longer go into our record book, tarnishing the legacy of those teams.And you know what?Jimmy crack corn, and I donít care, because the biggest news from this verdict is that our football team is losing no scholarships out of this mess.Thatís right, not a single scholarship.Personally, and this is strictly my opinion, I would like to erase all of the post Bear, pre Saban years (except for 1992, of course) from the record books anyway.We (and by we, I mean the Alabama powers-that-be) made so many stupid decisions during that timeframe that I just want it gone.Letís just pretend that we went right from Bear to Saban.Frankly, Iím shocked that they didnít take away a single scholarship.We all know how much the NCAA loves to take away Bama scholarships (the 1995 penalties are still the most egregious in NCAA history), and the way Saban is recruiting, even a single scholarship loss could be crucial.Weíre now getting such good players, I donít want to sacrifice a single one.Under Shula, heck, you could take away 20 scholarships per year, because we were only getting about 5 real college football players in each class anyway.But look back at Sabanís last two classes.Who would you want to drop from those classes?No one, thatís who, and the class that heís putting together for this year is epic.The fact that it can be a full class with no restrictions is huge for our program.
One aspect of the sanctions that does trouble me is that they put us in a three-year probation window.I have no doubt that Saban runs a clean program (none whatsoever), but Iím always afraid some idiot booster will do something that gets us back in the NCAAís crosshairs, or like in 1995, an Auburn booster will pay a disgruntled former player to lie.And believe me, if the NCAA investigates us for violations that occur while weíre under probation again, weíre done.So keep your fingers crossed that nothing happens for the next three years, because thatís the only thing that can slow down this express train that Saban is building.
And speaking of the Saban Express, recruiting for the 2010 class is already going fast and furious, but Iíll save that for a future blog.Itís almost comical how well weíre doing, so Iíll give you guys an update in the next week or so.Until then, breathe a sigh of relief, Bama Nation.I think we really dodged a bullet.
As always, feel free to send me any questions or comments.Until next time, Roll Tide!