Why aren’t losses also vacated?

Posted on Feb 13 2019 - 5:50am by Justin Dial

Ever wonder why the NCAA doesn’t vacate losses?

In short, it’s because the NCAA’s enforcement model is broken.

Ole Miss was forced to vacate 33 wins over a seven-year span as the university’s final punishment in the NCAA’s case against Ole Miss. However, no losses were vacated from the record books.

In the six seasons affected, Ole Miss took a total of 40 losses, but none will be vacated, regardless of whether ineligible players participated in those contests.

Every single loss still counts.

But what’s the point of vacating losses? The stats, other than those of ineligible players, still count — as do the fan’s memories of those games and the bragging rights associated with them.

Literally nothing changes other than the wins. Is that the point the NCAA is trying to get across? To cripple head coach and team overall records? I hate to break it to the NCAA, but vacating wins accomplishes little or nothing.

Take University of Memphis basketball. In 2008, then-head coach John Calipari and his star point guard Derrick Rose made it to the Final Four against UCLA and the National Championship against Kansas, which they lost.

Memphis was later forced to vacate the entire 2007-08 season because of Rose’s participation during the year. He was found to have been academically ineligible.

Everyone still remembers the Tiger’s run to the Final Four. Everyone remembers Rose coming into his own at Memphis. Everyone remembers Calipari building his resume at Memphis.

Everyone but the NCAA.

Rose was selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, and Calipari left Memphis for Kentucky after the championship loss. The head coach of the program didn’t face any penalty, and neither did the best player on the team. They both went on to greener pastures: Rose to the NBA and Calipari to a higher-profile job.

This same thinking can be applied to Ole Miss football now.

Hugh Freeze was recently hired as the head coach at Liberty University. If it weren’t for the personal issues that got him fired from Ole Miss, he’d likely be the head coach at another high-profile school or in the NFL.

Everyone still remembers the big wins he brought to Oxford. The 2014 Alabama game won’t be forgotten anytime soon by the Rebel faithful. The same goes for the 2012 and 2014 Egg Bowls.

The only thing vacating wins accomplishes is ruining a program’s win-loss record and postseason accomplishments. The head coaches who run these programs aren’t affected much; they’ll still get hired for their success at their prior school despite their updated and less impressive head coaching record.

It doesn’t make any sense that losses are absolved from being vacated. If wins are, shouldn’t losses be, too? Those ineligible players participated in those losses. So why do they stand?

It all comes back to the NCAA’s broken model that must be fixed in the near future. Cooperation with NCAA investigations seems like the right thing to do but will almost certainly land the school some sanctions. On the other hand, no cooperation with the NCAA appears to be the best option.

The investigation system and Committee on Infractions must be stopped. Otherwise, the NCAA will keep on abusing its power by punishing universities at will for small infractions.