The textbook case involving Alabama is ridiculous on so many levels, itâ€™s hard to know where to begin. Please allow me to articulate this multifaceted issue using ten simple facts:
Less than five years after receiving the stiffest penalties since SMU got a one-year death sentence in 1987 (and then the school in disgust self-imposed two more), the University of Alabama athletic department should have never found itself in this position again.
Mal Moore loves Alabama to death. In the John Steinbeck book â€œOf Mice and Men,â€ Lennie, the big, retarded ranch hand who accompanies George everywhere he goes, kills everything he touches as well. Not on purpose, but from bunnies to people, he doesnâ€™t know his own strength, and simply loves them to death. Mal is doing the same thing with Alabama football.
Great intentions, and even greater results as the empire continues to grow. But itâ€™s time to let someone else have a turn. Youâ€™ve almost killed what you love so much, Mal. From all indications, since our appearance before the NCAA last year, Mal has become more of a figurehead and fund raiser than anything else, leaving the day to day operations to Dave Hart.
Coach Moore can raise money like nobody else. Letâ€™s all just pray thatâ€™s what he continues to relegate himself to doing.
It could have been worse. Muuuuuch worse. No scholarship losses means the beat goes on in Tuscaloosa. The machine that comes into your stadium, beats you down, wears you out, and then leaves with your best girl in front of a national audience is coming to a college campus near you. Nick Saban has built a monster on the field, and though many prayed this ruling would weaken it, it didnâ€™t. Hate Alabama all you want, but Alabama football is a force to be reckoned with.
Vacating victories is one of the gayest penalties ever created. By definition, a vacated win is a game we won that we no longer get to take credit for, but the team we beat still has to record the loss in their record books. A forfeiture means we give up the win and the other team gets it. But hereâ€™s the deal. If you and I are standing in a parking lot, and I beat your a** in front of everybody watching, even if Iâ€™m made to come back later and apologize to you, everyone who saw it still knows I beat your a**. While this penalty is a little annoying, big crapping deal.
(Sorry Tennessee, the 41-17 flogging we put on you in 2007 still counts).
The three year probation is the biggest hit. If Iâ€™m sitting in a court room awaiting my sentence and the judge says I have three years probation instead of going to prison, where I could likely be raped and killed, Iâ€™d take it and sing all the way home. But I donâ€™t have 4 million enemies looking for ways to get me in trouble again. Alabama football is the most hated institution in all the land. We are despised by many who want to create smoke in places like Gadsden, point to it publicly, and then quickly tell everyone thereâ€™s a fire. If we…all 2 million of us…Alabama fans, alumni and supporters play it by the book, thereâ€™s nothing anyone can do to us. SO DO IT. But one slip in the next five years (probation plus the two year window), and you might as well just change our mascot to the Mustangs. However, you are about to see some major adjustments to the way things are done in Tuscaloosa ensuring that every possible measure is taken to prevent stupidity from taking place.
Everybody cheats. Especially everybody in the SEC. Thatâ€™s why I hate everybody in the SEC. I always pull against the SEC in regular season non-conference games and bowl games. Save the spiel about â€œit only makes us look stronger if the teams we beat do well.â€ I donâ€™t give a crap. I hate â€˜em all. Because everybody cheats and weâ€™re the only ones who have to pay the piper. So screw â€˜em all. From Tennessee to Vanderbilt, I hope we destroy them and then they lose every game.
The reason everybody cheats is because the rules are impossible to keep in totality. I liken the NCAA bylaws to Jewish law in the Old Testament. With thousands of these man made laws on the books, it was impossible to keep them all. So God (who only gave us ten to keep, by thy way) saw that we were too stupid to do even that, and sent His Son to be the sacrifice for our sins once and for all. Thatâ€™s a big deal, and outside of this article, the only real big deal there is in life. But you get my point. There is no way you can completely regulate a wealthy booster who lives in another state. Or an athlete who looks for a loophole with a textbook. NCAA, youâ€™ve done things like doing away with athletic dorms which made it easier to monitor players because you said it was unfair to schools who couldnâ€™t afford them, then you have the audacity to turn around and hammer us for not monitoring our players. I feel like Iâ€™m in an argument with my wife here. The NCAA, since bludgeoning us in 2002, has taken a much more lenient path with everyone it has dealt with…even us this time around.
Maybe they are beginning to see the fallacy in their own organization.
Iâ€™m convinced weâ€™re the only school who self reports. No other school in America gift wraps an investigation like we do. And where does it get us? Praise from the committee right before they hit us. Think back to your childhood. I was a child who always ran to my parents and â€˜fessed up when I did wrong because I knew it would lead to a much more lenient punishment. Often times I wasnâ€™t punished beyond a simple warning about doing it again. Argue that we DID find leniency by doing so if you want, but personally Iâ€™m getting pretty sick of us cooperating then getting punished anyway. Reggie Bush was living in a beach house worth over $750,000 while at USC, and USC has basically said â€œYaâ€™ll come prove it.â€ Whatâ€™s happened? Nothing. Youâ€™re sending a message NCAA. If the real issue is deter speeding, sometimes an officer who shows grace and issues a warning does more good than an officer who goes ahead and writes you the ticket.
Auburn fans are pathetic. I ran into an Auburn associate the other night giddy over the impending penalties. He couldnâ€™t contain himself. I spoke to him out of politeness, wanting to exchange the general niceties acquaintances do in those situations. But instead he immediately launched into the textbook case, giggling and laughing like a horny school girl about to make out for the first time. I am sending that acquaintance a condolence card today (as I would encourage all of you to do, because we all have those idiots in our lives). But Auburn fan, let me break it down for you like this:
Do you realize how pathetic your program has become when your sole hope at happiness is taking delight in our misgivings? Your program is nothing and never has been. Historically, you havenâ€™t come close to achieving anything resembling Alabama football. And, next to Arizona State, youâ€™re still the most penalized school in history. If you are able to read, check the record books and you have to acknowledge that at the height of your success against us we were at our lowest. Historically, when we are strong, we win, and win big. Aside from a few good years sprinkled here and there, we havenâ€™t been strong since the 70â€™s. Until now. Working on our 3rd #1 recruiting class with one of the top five coaches and recruiters in America on our sidelines, our team is L-O-A-D-E-D with talent, and thirty-six to â€˜nil is only the beginning. Youâ€™ve hired a proven loser, and when we come to the farm on Black Friday this year, with nine of last yearâ€™s returning starters on defense that kept you from even entering the red zone, Iâ€™ll be in the stadium raising my two fingers.
Harkening back to my 3rd fact in this article, like it or not, Bama football is a force, Auburn football is a farce, and thanks to decisions made on both sides, neither fact is changing anytime soon. 36-0
None of this will matter in a week. Permanent internal adjustments will be commonplace in T-town, but as for public effect on Alabama football, the players, the coaches, the fans and the 10-12 teams we will beat this season, the results will be the same. Yesterday was ground zero, but every day that passes it will matter less. Do you hear anything about FSUâ€™s last tango with the NCAA? Has it affected them beyond being just a black smudge in their rearview mirror? El-nope-o for our Spanish speaking friends.
Pathetic rivals will sling mud in desperate efforts for self-preservation, but the monster in Tuscaloosa will only continue to grow. The Julio Joneses, Trent Richardsons, Nico Johnsons, Phillip Sims and DeMarcus Milliners of the world will continue to see through all the smokescreens and come to Alabama to play for one of the hottest colleges in the land, and for one of the best coaches ever to coach the game. And the rest, as they say…along with this case…will be history.