All the hoopla that arose from UK’s celebration of Calipari’s 500th win caused a lot of discussion on why NCAA chose this specific incident to finally enforce the rule regarding vacated wins and coaches records on this specific coach and school. As has been noted here several times, UK fans have made sure to point out the others schools that have went against the ‘official’ record, and noted there hasn’t been notification that they need to correct everything because of the vacation of records penalty levied against the coach and/or program.
An article (linked below) took the time to examine this issue, even catching up with a former NCAA committee member to get the scoop. While the current NCAA members have been withheld from discussing the issue with the media, there was a statement regarding how and why this penalty (as in the letter to UK) is used:
It is designed to punish the direct perpetrators of rules violations (often current or former coaches or athletes) instead of their successors and innocent bystanders, as many argue that other penalties — such as reduced scholarships or postseason bans — do.
Josephine R. Potuto, a constitutional law professor at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and a former chair of the Committee on Infractions, spoke with this site regarding the issue. She had this to say:
“The committee kept on hearing a lot that taking away scholarships was unfair and that taking away competition was unfair because they punish kids who weren’t there at the time of the infraction,” Potuto said. “By the way, I don’t like that argument. Penalties will always hit people who weren’t there at the time. Still, we asked if there were penalties that would focus on the conduct of the wrongdoers, and we found vacation was one of those penalties.”
“It’s absolutely imperative that when a body imposes a penalty, it ensures that those penalties are followed,” Potuto said. “Suppose a school was told that it should limit the number of scholarships by five for a season, but it went ahead and filled those five scholarships anyway. That wouldn’t be acceptable…. If a school flouts a penalty, it’s extremely troubling.”
The article also noted that Potuto was strongly in favor of enforcing the penalty no matter what it took. That’s fine. Good. Great. Grand. Everybody on the bus? Okay, now let’s see some letters to ensure enforcement and acknowledgement across the nation so that the NCAA can at least attempt to correct some hypocrisy.
Sidenote: the article features quotes from another former chair of the Committee on Infractions, Gene A. Marsh. I found this hilarious:
“In my part of the country, way down here [in Alabama], folks still just care, ‘Did we beat you on the field?’ Then, if X number of years later there’s an asterisk in a media guide, they just don’t care: ‘We still whupped you.’ Some people who are more fastidious, maybe nerdy, might pay more attention to what the paperwork says, but other people operate more by gut and just care if they whupped you on the field.”
My view on this goes a little something like this: When UK celebrated Calipari’s 500th win, no matter what the NCAA says, Coach Cal was the coach of the team who had the higher score when the final buzzer sounder 500 different times. That is reason enough to celebrate and can’t be taken away, even if it doesn’t go down in the record books as such.
full article here: “Pretending They Didn’t Happen”