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What's the Point of Vacating Wins?

by Photo of Kevin Leonard

It doesn’t really affect anything.

What's the Point of Vacating Wins?

Ohio State has recently vacated all 12 wins in an effort to assuage some institutional “guilt” and/or appease the NCAA into a more benevolent state of mind. The actions of the Big Ten school bring a poignant and serious question to mind: who the hell cares?


For a moment, let’s leave aside the ridiculousness that college football players barely see any of the $2 billion industry that they generate (an inequity that makes about a million rules and rule violations exist), and let’s look at the ridiculousness of making wins “disappear.”


Practically, how does this punish the school? The school’s vacation of wins is nothing but an embellished, overwrought attempt at martyrdom. Erasing wins is a quite savvy business venture; the school’s decision to do so is independent of actual self-deprecation, like bowl indelibility, or suspending scholarships.


Unlike the latter two options, which impose an actual penalty on the team’s performance, nullifying wins doesn’t do anything. The gesture is like spitting in a water fountain – it looks like it’s affecting something, but in reality, the water you’re drinking has nothing to do with the drain. It has to do with image – a “cheating” school is going to take a stab at martyrdom in order to convince its viewing public that it’s clean – kind of like Roger Clemens unnecessarily taking the stand.


Vacating wins is just an annoying thing to do. The win has

happened, the team has celebrated together, and it’s over. Nothing after the fact changes that, and, that being so, the absent wins mean nothing except in the record books which also, arguably, mean nothing.

To see Ohio State during the 2011 season, visit Charged.fm.

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