Thu Jun 11 10:02am EDT
TUSCALOOSA -- The NCAA will announce Thursday that the Alabama football team must vacate all wins in 2005 through 2007 that included players involved in violations of textbook disbursement policy, a person with knowledge of the ruling said.
That number is at least 10, another source said. Alabama will not have to give up its 2007 win over Tennessee or its bowl win that season.
The ruling, which will be announced to the public Thursday, also includes the NCAA placing Alabama on three more years of probation, and Alabama will pay a fine.
The probation is a special nod to 'Bama's status as a repeat repeat offender -- as Ray Melick points out in the Birmingham News, the program has been under a near-constant cloud of sanctions since the mid-nineties, thanks to infractions handed down in 1995, 1999 (basketball) and 2002. After the last round, Alabama was supposed to be "staring down the barrel of a gun" with the NCAA, and Melick recalls the round of back-patting stories when the program finally went sanction-free in 2007.
The gun in question, though, is a pop gun: Aside from some embarrassment, a little pocket change and a bit of red ink in the record book over years most 'Bama fans would like to forget, anyway, the sanctions don't carry any real teeth going forward, since a) There are no scholarship losses, and b) The NCAA has proven very generous lately to schools forced to "vacate" past victories. The Association restored eight wins it took from Oklahoma for starting two players who were paid for work they didn't perform at a local car dealership in 2005, and seems to be on the brink of giving back 14 "vacated" wins to Florida State after FSU appealed the ruling on a case of "widespread academic fraud" earlier this year. Next to either of those scandals, Alabama's textbook scam -- in which the offending players reportedly paid back the money the school lost through their book-lending plan -- is a misdemeanor, and one the Tide self-reported at that. The stern wrist-slapping here seems to be more of the three-strikes-you're-out variety than a response to the latest offense.
• Marrone the Cleanser. House-cleaning is standard operating procedure for a new coach, and you can judge the depth of the existing problems by the number of players the new administration roots out, runs off or recommends to transfer to Temple. At Tennessee, for example, Lane Kiffin got a round of headlines for "losing" 11 scholarship players in his first five months on the job. After four disastrous years under Greg Robinson, Syracuse was in a far more advanced stage of rot when Doug Marrone took over in December; accordingly, the Orange have shuttled off a whopping 14 holdovers from the Robinson regime in six months. Nothing to see here, says the Syracuse Post-Standard, as long as you remember that scholarships serve at the pleasure of the head coach:
Syracuse, NY -- Whether it's typical of football programs in transition under new head coaches to have soooo many players leave, you gotta admit, the upheaval of the roster at Syracuse University still has the appearance of a thorough house cleaning.
To that end, the head football coach of the Orange men - and that would be Doug Marrone - may or may not be asking players to move along. He can certainly make a persuasive argument, as in (and I'm pretending what he might say, here) you're not going to play and have no future of playing and I'll be more than happy to make some calls for you ... kind of argument. I keep hearing that the players themselves are making their decisions to leave. Those decisions could include breaking team rules or failing to meet academic requirements or getting the message from Marrone that their future PT is bleak.
The Dispatch has a man-by-man rundown of the latest departures, and if Orange partisans are misting up over the departure of Chaz Cervino, the rehab is going to take a lot longer than they hope.
• Speaking of cleaning house ... Kansas State refuses to say why it suspended a pair of longtime athletic department officials Wednesday -- just four days into the administration of new athletic director John Currie -- only maintaining that their leave "is not based upon any concerns about misconduct on the part of either individual." The assumption, of course, is that the move is directly related to the crazy backroom deal, revealed last month, that puts K-State on the hook for $3.2 million in deferred pay to ex-coach Ron Prince through 2020.
So far, that agreement has been presented as the "secret" work of Prince, his agent and disgraced former AD Bob Krause. The university didn't back off that description Wednesday, but Prince's agent begs to differ:
Neil Cornrich, Prince’s agent and attorney, maintains the agreement was not done in secret and will withstand any legal challenge.
"Not only is it inaccurate to claim that this was a secret agreement, but also it makes no sense since the contract was mutually agreed upon, signed and legally binding," Cornrich has said.
This would never happen to, say, Tom Osborne, which I guess is why the Nebraska legend gets to hold onto the AD's chair for another year in Lincoln.
Quickly ... Elsewhere, K-State is adding South Florida's former backup quarterback. ... Alabama's attorney general won't pursue any charges related to early agent contact with ex-Tide lineman Andre Smith. ... USC refugee Vidal Hazelton's petition for immediate eligibility at Cincinnati was denied by the NCAA. ... Florida receiver Riley Cooper has a decision to make after going in the 25th round of Thursday's baseball draft, and Auburn loses a recruit to the Red Sox. ... Nebraska DB Mason Wald, one of two scholarship true freshmen who saw the field for the Huskers last year, is transferring to Samford. ... Indeed, Tebow is great. ... Former Georgia linebacker Arthur Marshall was indicted on federal charges of bank fraud. ... Hyped receiver Ahmad Paige, a washout after two fruitless years at Penn State, has landed at Louisiana Tech. ... The new official capacity at Rutgers Stadium: 52,454, up 10,000 seats from last year after an end zone expansion. ... And Ex-Gator Cornelius Ingram, '08 injury casualty, gets a $1.9 million birthday present from the Philadelphia Eagles.