Nowadays in college sports, we can’t tell a loss from a win. Even if you were at a game and took a picture of the scoreboard, you can’t be sure which team won.
We might not know for 10 or 20 years, and then we still can’t be sure.
It’s enough to send us all back to school to sign up for that “new math” course we keep hearing about.
Vacated wins are springing up all over the country. You can even find them in your old college year book if you do the detective work.
The NCAA is on a “vacate” rampage, and it has put a stranglehold on America.
It is snooping into media guides, and perhaps other school-published literature, and vacating wins.
This is worse than having your college professor come by with a red pen and write an F on what you thought was a prized piece of work.
Fear is mounting that a vacating frenzy has enveloped us. People want to vacate their debt, some want to vacate their spouses, and others might even want to vacate their kids.
What we’ve learned so far is that there are vacated wins of the mind, vacated wins of the heart and vacated wins the NCAA mandates.
But nothing is etched in stone.
When Bobby Bowden retired as FSU’s most successful football coach in 2009, he said dadgummit to the NCAA and announced he was counting the 12 wins it took away from him. And in the court of public opinion he won.
Kentucky’s John Calipari had to make believe the recent celebration Kentucky showered on him for getting 500 wins didn’t really happen.
Calipari just smiled and said OK, which you can do when your bank account is bulging and you already beat the NCAA by getting out of Memphis and Massachusetts before the Grim Reaper wielded his ax.
Now Florida just got hit with a “You Must Vacate’ notice.
Could this be the result of a Florida State booster getting revenge on Steve Spurrier for slapping that “Free Shoes University” tag on the Seminoles back when vacate had another meaning?
The NCAA says a combined five NCAA Tournament games from 1987 and ’88 in the Gators basketball media guide never happened.
In other words, they have been expunged from your brain. And take those banners down from your gym rafters.
It’s enough to make us believe rumors that vacating wins is a mind-altering operation NCAA investigators perform on sports fans when they are sleeping.
You wake up and the wins are vacated. It creates another dilemma; does that mean your bookie gives you 48 hours to make good on what you owe him?
The Gators might have come out ahead in those five vacated games because two of them were losses. And anyway, didn’t they pay enough for their sins by totally erasing the memory (err achievements) of Vernon Maxwell from their media guides during that time.
How many universities can claim they vacated a guy who was their all-time leading scorer when he finished his career?
It was reported that the head coach of that era, Norm Sloan, paid child support for one of his players to keep him out of jail and paid the transportation for another to travel to a summer job.
Those are unpardonable sins that cannot keep the vacate surgeon away.
Kentucky doesn’t take these things lightly, especially on the basketball court.
After receiving a letter demanding it not count 44 of Calipari’s victories in its media guide, citizens of the Bluegrass organized their own witch hunt and found numerous schools counting vacated wins.
A list of at least 20 violators was put together.
One erstwhile detective reported San Diego State credits basketball coach Steve Fisher with 400-plus victories though he really has only 335 because of a mounting list of wins that were vacated when he coached Michigan’s Fab Five.
Alabama football coach Nick Saban is being credited with five wins that were vacated, but with a reported $5 million salary don’t expect him to lodge a complaint if the school changes his bio.
But maybe we could use this to get our own brand of justice.
Here is proposal sure to gather steam: The FHSAA should vacate the wins St. Thomas Aquinas got over Manatee until the school adequately explains how all those highly touted transfers wind up there every year.
Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 745-2112.