Alan Dell

Give Bobby Bowden his 12 wins back

Dadgummit — It’s time we paid Bobby Bowden back for what he has done for us.

We need to tell the NCAA it can take away his victories, but it can’t take away our minds.

Be darned those 12 wins the NCAA has removed from Bowden’s resume. We do not accept.

There is a sense of uneven justice being handed out in the sports world, and Bobby is getting short-changed.

Baseball’s all-time home run record is laced with allegations that it is a product of pharmaceutical enhancement and not a word comes out of the Commissioner’s Office.

John Calipari leaves two basketball programs in messy scandals and signs a multi-million dollar contract at a third school.

Bobby Bowden, the man every mother wanted to see knock on her door to recruit her son, finds himself losing games after he retires.

FSU has decided to trim 12 wins off Bowden’s record, covering parts of the 2006 and ’07 season. It could be more if the NCAA doesn’t agree with the school’s findings.

The administration fought a hard battle, but ran out of downs. It sent the NCAA a list of records that will be vacated in 10 sports for what was deemed a widespread academic fraud scandal.

FSU appealed the NCAA’s ruling and called its punishment excessive. But it had no chance; it was like playing a football game where all the refs work for the opposing team.

The NCAA investigation concluded that neither Bowden nor any other FSU coach played a role in the misconduct, which it alleges involved 61 athletes.

No matter!

After 34 seasons at the Seminoles’ helm, Bowden’s “official record” according to those NCAA moguls, will be 377 victories instead of 389.

Bobby says he will still count the other 12 he won on the field, and why shouldn’t we? He gave us so much and took care of some of our own.

Bowden also won 22 games at the junior college level when he was head coach at South Georgia College from 1956 through 1958, but those are not part of the NCAA record books.

Give Bowden those 22 and he would be ahead of Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who has won 394 and is the all-time winningest college football coach. But the former FSU coach just wants his 12 back. He remains second on the list anyway, at least for now.

FSU also lost the national track and field title it won in 2007 and games in other sports.

But the “vacate order” that has drawn the most ire is the one against Bowden. It’s like telling Santa 12 of his house visits don’t count. Would they ask those kids to give back their gifts?

Bowden’s misdeed or lack of knowledge seem mild compared to those of Calipari, the only head coach to have a Final Four appearance vacated at more than one school (Massachusetts and Memphis) and has a string of alleged violations following him around.

Calipari’s vacated victories were more than softened when he signed a reported eight-year, $31.65 million contract with Kentucky last March.

Bobby Bowden unfortunately is done; with no victories to recoup and no big time contracts to sign.

No one likes cheaters, but can’t the NCAA at least put an asterisk next to his win column so he can get his proper due?

We can’t buy into the punishment delved out to one of the most revered names in college football.

Bobby has his 389, and it is what it is!