Doc Saturday made this the topic of his recent column. I would like to see the MGoBoard's opinion. Vote, and then if you want you can read my take (written as a response to Hinton) and reasoning. But vote first -- I don't think most people agree with me on this, and I would rather have the opportunity to change your opinion than tell you how to vote.
Vacating wins, pulling down banners, etc. is the worst punishment the NCAA could come up with...for the NCAA. History isn't something you can change. Football games happened, and they had statistics and outcomes for people who had nothing to do with the scandal. Even if USC can't advertise it anymore, nobody's going to forget that 2004 team.
The proper way to hurt the program is to put the punishment far out ahead, so that recruits will have little desire to go to S.C. for a length of time double what the perceived benefit of the cheating was.
Changing history is less an attack on U.S.C. than the integrity of the college game.
Go back to 2006, when Michigan and Ohio State met for that epic battle. That was the year that Clarett told reporters about some shady dealings in Columbus (this is NOT an indictment of OSU -- the point is only that it raised suspicion among fans). Nothing came of it, but at the time, doesn't it kind of taint that game a bit if fans were watching it thinking there's a good chance NCAA will one day say it never happened?
What happened on the field happened. That is essential to the integrity of the game. There are other, better ways of punishing the program (I would add, also, that the next team that hires Carroll or any involved coach is subject to penalties as well). Vacating wins serves short-term interests for sounding tough and absolving the NCAA of blame ("See: cheating didn't affect our records!") when the league's own failure to regulate its standards to effectiveness deserves some of the blame as well.
It makes as much sense as an EPA fine including a caveat that any product put out by the offending company while out of compliance was never made. Remember that electricity you had from 1998-2002 near the plant that, it turns out, expanded without a permit? Sorry, folks, you were actually in the dark.
Those most punished by vacating wins are the fans, since we are told to screw our memories, O'Brien style, to account for what is essentially a lie. Much as I am happy to see USC hit for these violations, I refuse to change my memory of 2004 to make Oklahoma (who, being the de-facto winner of the BCS Nat Championship game now) or Auburn the champions. USC was the best team in 2004. That they cheated to become so is now fact, but no less fact than the dominance we all witnessed on the field, and which I will continue to countenance.