According to the Austin American-Statesman, the Sooners will have two less scholarships per season during 2008 and 2009 (83 total scholarship players instead of the normal 85) and the 2005 season will be erased from the record books.
Seriously? That's it? There collective sigh of relief from Norman, Okla. can be felt all the way here in Austin as this will have no impact whatsoever on Oklahoma football. None.
OU has 15 commits for 2008 and won't have to give any of them up. Besides, this is a team that consistently goes for quality over quantity in recruiting and doesn't necessarily give out all of its scholarships each year to new recruits. Basically it means some fourth-stringer who's been hoping to get his books paid for will have to take out another loan.
What about the removal from of the 2005 season from the record books, in which the Sooners went 8-4 and beat Oregon in the Holiday Bowl?
Doesn't matter one bit. A national championship erased, that's something, but that season? "Oh no, they erased our epic win over Tulsa and took away our meaningless trophy that looks like a whale! What will we ever do?!" Seriously, the '05 Sooners were a team that had to take two overtimes to beat Baylor. I think most OU fans would rather forget the season anyway.
Oh, and apparently Bob Stoops' career record is officially 78-19 instead of 86-19. Woo. Take that.
But the real issue here isn't the school. While the ruling tells schools to continue to turn the other cheek to violations the boosters are the real issue.
Did OU pay these guys? Did head coach Bob Stoops roll up the Bomar's dorm room and drop off a stack of cash or the keys to a Lexus? No. It was the dealership in this case and a strong and very clear message has been sent to every booster, every fan, everybody who could potentially pay a player to suit up on Saturdays that what they're doing is fine in the NCAA's book. The school just has no need to keep track of it, apparently.
NCAA president Myles Brand, conversely, said his organization "acted with integrity in taking swift and decisive action."
Really? The two high profile players in this case, Bomar and Quinn, will actually be playing this season! They've had their eligibility restored and will be suiting up for their respective D-1AA schools – Bomar and Sam Houston State and Quinn at Montana – never mind the fact that it took the NCAA three months to do this. How's that USC investigation coming? A $300,000 home not big enough for you to find?
These two players received cash, straight cash, because they are football players and they're still considered "amateur athletes" by the NCAA. This is from the same organization that refused to allow former Colorado WR Jeremy Bloom to play because of his earnings as a professional skier.
OU gets no real punishment. No TV restrictions, no bowl restrictions, nothing. I'm not asking for the death penalty, but by handing down a punishment that has absolutely zero negative impact on a program, it continues to reinforce a very dangerous precedent.
NCAA representatives say they want to sent a clear message. Well they sent one all right and it rings loud and true in the ears of any cheater who would dare degrade the sport of college football:
"Keep on truckin'."