Here's a quick trivia question for you. Who was runner-up in the 2008 NCAA basketball national championship? Kansas won the title that year, who finished second?
The answer is: no one.
Aren't vacating wins great? I find nothing more delightful than the NCAA's punishment system. Just imagine playing a game of Trivial Pursuit in 25 years and getting that question.
The way the NCAA works is by reviewing past discretions when they get around to it. Obviously they are a busy organization, but subsequently removing wins as punishment for players that graduated or left years prior seems a bit unorthodox. Right now the NCAA is contemplating taking away the 2004 National Championship in football from the USC Trojans because of Reggie Bush and all the violations that he was a part of. I guess this would severely punish the school itself, and all the fans (or at least fans from rival schools would constantly remind USC alums of this.) But would the players care? This happened half a dozen years ago. They had the best team in the country that year. Wouldn't they always consider themselves champs?
I'm not as much concerned with the feelings of players involved, as I am with the fantastic paradoxes the NCAA strives to create with this punishment. Florida State and Alabama, in recent years, have also been a part of wins vacating in football. In fact, FSU got caught with violations in 10 different sports. That means, without getting into specifics, if Alabama scored more points than their opponent a certain game, they could have had the win removed. But their opponent does not have the loss removed. Therefore, there will be teams that have lost games that no one won. Just fantastic.
Obviously this is more clearly illustrated in simple win totals of teams or coaches, but shouldn't this be more clearly thought out? The Florida State football team under Bobby Bowden will now have 14 games where they scored more points than their opponent and did not win. But their stats will be skewed even deeper than that. Their average margin of victory will go sky high for those seasons. Just think about it. Let's say they won 10 games a certain season, by a total of 150 points, which comes out to an average victory of 15 points. Now what if they get six wins from that season taken away? Suddenly they only won four games that season, but still outscored their opponents by 150 points for the year. Their average margin in victories is now a whopping 37.5 points! I do not know which specific victories have been taken away, or if it is even decided, but I know that would be another fantastic piece of trivia. 'In 2006, Bowden's Seminoles won by an average of 37.5 points per game.' They must have been dominant.
Getting back to my original question, in the 2008 NCAA basketball title game, Kansas beat the Derrick Rose led Memphis Tigers. This information does not change. Kansas did beat Memphis to win the title. However, Memphis did not technically lose the game. So remember, don't add 2008 to the list of Memphis' title game losses, even though they were in the title game and they did not win.
Vacating wins, just fantastically fun.