The vacating-of-wins penalty against Alabama will stand after the school’s appeal to the NCAA was denied.
The NCAA had stripped the defending national champions of 21 wins — 10 from 2005, six from 2006 and five from 2007 — after an investigation uncovered major violations stemming from textbook improprieties.
In its appeal, Alabama argued that the vacating-of-wins penalty was “excessive and constituted an abuse of discretion”, as well as noting that the Committee on Infractions had “failed adequately to consider the institution’s cooperation.”
Obviously, the NCAA disagreed with the school’s stance.
We disagree that that the Committee on Infractions failed adequately to consider and weigh the institution’s cooperation. In fact, the Committee on Infractions noted at several places in its report that it had considered the institution’s cooperation. While the institution may disagree as a matter of substance with the Committee on Infractions’ conclusions regarding the level and nature of that cooperation, and its impact on the penalties imposed, we find no basis on which to conclude that the Committee on Infractions’ determinations in that regard constituted an abuse of discretion.
Textbook And Vacations-of-Wins Case Precedents
As noted above, the institution argued that the vacation-of-wins penalty improperly departed from the Committee on Infractions’ textbook and vacation-of-wins case precedents. We acknowledge, as the institution argued, that the facts presented in the University of Colorado, Boulder Committee on Infractions’ case (2007) were generally similar to those present here, but the Committee on Infractions did not vacate any wins; and prior textbook cases did not include the imposition of a vacation of wins.
On the other hand, the Committee on Infractions has noted significant aggravating factors in this case, including the institution’s status as a repeat offender. Seldom will two cases be exactly alike. And while we reiterate that the Committee on Infractions must maintain consistency among its decisions over time, we also recognize, as we have noted before, that the Committee on Infractions “must have latitude in tailoring remedies to the particular circumstances involved in each case.” [Georgia Institute of Technology Infractions Appeals Report (May 18, 2006) Page No. 11]. We find no abuse of discretion in the Committee on Infractions’ vacation of wins.
In addition to losing 21 wins in football, Alabama was also placed on probation through June 10, 2012, as well as “public reprimand and censure.”
Athletic director Mal Moore, per the Birmingham News, expressed disappointment in the NCAA’s denial of their appeal.
“We’re very disappointed because the Committee missed an excellent opportunity to follow its precedent set in recent cases, the precedent we followed due to the nature of the case,” Moore said.
“We have thoroughly addressed the situation and have taken corrective measures. We are eager to move forward while continuing to build a program that not only is successful on the field, but also reflects the values of our University.”