VETTEL: Sooners Sanctions Excessive, Misplace

The NCAA handed down significant sanctions against the Oklahoma Sooners on Wednesday and those sanctions fall into two main categories - Excessive and Misplaced.

The sanctions stem from two Sooners players getting paid for work they didn't do at a car dealership. Oklahoma caught the infraction, penalized the kids, and distanced themselves from the dealer and the individual who was supervising the players.

While that was a significant action, it seems to me the penalties are excessive. Most notable is the penalty of forfeiting eight wins from the 2005 season, plus the reduction of two scholarships for the next two seasons. I have no problem with taking scholarships, but forfeiture is way too far. It is the NCAA basically saying Oklahoma knew of the violations and let the players take part otherwise. There is no evidence of that whatsoever. The reduction in scholarships is fine, and could have been more significant as far as I'm concerned.

Frankly, I don't believe any forfeiture should ever take place. The game was played; the outcome was what it was. It would be more punitive and more sensible to attach an asterisk to the record books than to pretend a game wasn't played or the winner didn't really win. Additionally, the order to delete the players' performances from the record books is equally inane.

The NCAA should not pretend things did not happen. If an institutional employee is guilty of violations he/she should be fired. If the institution deserves penalties, use scholarships, recruiting limitations and post-season eligibility as even more effective punishments. That's a better way to go than trying to alter history.

Oklahoma will appeal to the penalties and I hope they have some success. Yes, they deserve penalties and the players have earned lifetime bans. But changing history and re-writing record books is a dishonest and pointless exercise.

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