May 12th, 2010 at 5:53 PM ^

I agree.

Also, when the issue is whether the losing team has a rightful claim to victory over the team that committed the violation, there's a distinction that needs to be drawn between the type of violation that involves some kind of unfair advantage over one's opponents (such as the use of banned substances or stealing signals a la Bill Belichick) versus the type of violation that has more to do with institutional corruption and undermining the integrity of the student athlete. 

It would be fairly easy for opponents of the 2007 NE Patriots to make a case that they might have beaten the Patriots had they never used a camera to steal their opponents defensive signals, but it's a little harder for USC's opponents to argue that they would have beaten the Trojans if everyone had complied with the rules and Bush had never ended up on some sports agent’s payroll. 

And just so there’s no misunderstanding, I am absolutely not saying that the Trojans victories shouldn't be invalidated. They absolutely should be invalidated. I'm simply saying that, with respect to USC’s opponents, it's not as strong of an argument for them to say that they might have recorded a victory against USC but for the violation. 

Also, it’s certainly possible that Bush would have ended up running circles around defenders while wearing some other school’s logo on his helmet if the rule violation had never occurred in the first place, but that’s a little bit attenuated and doesn’t give USC’s opponents nearly as strong of an argument as they would have if a violation had occured that leads to some direct unfair advantage over one's competition.  


May 11th, 2010 at 10:30 PM ^

As far as I know all the illegal benefits Bush allegedly received started coming in the offseason between his sophomore and junior seasons.  If he is found to have been ineligible and USC vacates wins, I think it would just be from the 2005 season (where they lost to Texas in the Rose Bowl).


May 11th, 2010 at 10:36 PM ^

Although, presumably, the NCAA considers each investigation and judgement "separately", they're not so stupid that they don't consider the perception of multiple judgements issued more or less simultaneously. If they throw the book at USC, they'll probably not want to be seen as being "soft" on Michigan. Therefore, I am holding my breath.

On the other hand, if they give USC a pass, (or issue a judgement that amounts to same) for systematic violation of the rules regarding "amateur" athletes, they can't very well punish UM for what amounts to a few minutes of stretching time being omitted from "practice time."

Zone Left

May 11th, 2010 at 10:45 PM ^

Yes, Jon Navarre getting systematically torn into pieces by USC's line and any references to it will be deleted from our collective memories and the Internet...or not so much.


May 12th, 2010 at 8:28 AM ^

Oh, that brings back good memories.

"Tatupu said the Trojans ran five new blitzes on the Wolverines. Coach Pete Carroll refused to reveal what he saw that made him come so hard with the corners. Whatever he saw, corners Marcell Almond and Will Poole got the first two sacks, and on the opening drive. Poole sacked John Navarre again on the first play of the second quarter, running forever before he reached the quarterback.

"When [Michigan] said, 'We better take care of the corner pressure,' that really heated up the guys inside," Carroll said. "We really could have easily had 12 sacks."

The heads of the offensive linemen turned into Lazy Susans. The rest of them looked a little lazy and a little Susan, too. Michigan gave up 15 sacks all season, but nine on Thursday.

"It was a guessing game," Michigan offensive tackle Tony Pape said. "They usually rushed with their four down guys. This time they didn't. They had a lot of five- and six-man blitzes. It really wasn't the blitzing guy who made the tackles. It was the guys going one-on-one. You don't want to give up nine sacks. That's a terrible statistic.""


May 11th, 2010 at 11:26 PM ^

I'd rather see USC get off completely than get a phony "punishment" like vacating wins.  With vacated wins, there is the facade of the program having paid penance without any actual consequence.  If they are not going to get legitimately punished, then I would rather that they carry the guilt of cheaters who got away with it.