What a tragedy for college football.
What a blight on the BCS.
What a joke.
I am going to go out on a limb and say that not a single one of those 55 points USC scored on January 4, 2005 are coming off the board. And Oklahoma will still have their 19 today, and a hundred years from now.
Somehow I don’t think the players on the 2004 USC team will suddenly change their story. In fact, they probably don’t care. The truth is that they got what they wanted—a chance to play in the game and a victory. Their celebrations are over, and they will always be able to say, “I was on that team that won.” And they will always be able to point and say, “Scoreboard.”
On a related note, I met a guy this week who showed me his national championship ring from the Texas Longhorns team he played on in 1969. It was a relatively small ring by today’s standards. If you saw it on his hand, you wouldn’t take a second look. But it is something he treasures because, in his words, “It was neat to be a part of something bigger than yourself.”
It was a pretty unglamorous ring, to tell you the truth. In fact, most class rings (the one’s you buy to congratulate yourself for graduating) are bigger. Perhaps after four decades or so, some of the gold has worn off. But not so much that you are unable to read “Texas Longhorns National Champions” on it. And that’s what made it special.
He told me he couldn’t imagine how someone could sell their ring like the players at OSU did in the recent scandal that landed Jim Tressel in the back of the line that 9.1% of the American public are already standing in.
Of course, that’s the unemployment line though I doubt The Sweater Vest will be seen down at the welfare office anytime soon. I imagine he has enough to tide him over for a while, and perhaps his boy Terrell can slip him a couple of Benjamins to get him through, and maybe give him a lift down to Kroger for a bag of rice and some bagels. Besides, I imagine he will be employed somewhere soon.
And his players will go on with their lives. Just like Reggie Bush and the rest of the USC gang has.
And there will be some who, like the man I met this week, are still proud to be part of something bigger than themselves and won’t their souvenir from that event for a tattoo, or a used car, or anything else.
College athletics are big business.
If you want to crack down on this type of stuff that got OSU, USC, SMU back in the day, and lots of of other schools in trouble, the death penalty is probably the only way to do it.
End the USC football program for five years for this offense, and warn them that next time it will be ten years. And fine them the gate receipts for the seasons in question.
You see, the penalty has to be a deterrent. It can’t be worth it to succeed when you cheat.
Oh, and the standard will be a civil trial standard: preponderance of the evidence as considered by a jury made up of your rival’s season ticket holders.
I like that plan.
Any chance of it passing?
*For my friends in my home state, the USC here is University of Southern California, not University of South Carolina. It is probably obvious since we are talking about football national championships and only one school in South Carolina has one of those. Truth be told, the last time that USC sniffed a national championship was probably the exhaust from the plane when Notre Dame flew over SC on its way to it's bowl game in 1988.