Opinion: NCAA Should Un-vacate Wins From UA Textbook Scandal
On Friday, football legend Reggie Bush asked for his Heisman Trophy to be reinstated after he forfeited it after an NCAA investigation found USC giving Bush and his family benefits and gifts from the school. Now, since the NCAA has executed the Name, Image, Likeness Policies, so college athletes can get sponsorships, endorsements, etc., Bush is asking for his deserved trophy back.
UA has a similar story. In 2007, an investigation started into the Crimson Tide football team about possible benefit violations. It turned out that student athletes were abusing the free textbooks part of the scholarship and getting free books for their friends through the Supply Store.
In ESPN's report on the scandal, 16 Alabama teams had wins vacated for the problem, including 21 wins for the football program between 2005-2007. The report also states that "The NCAA said some 125 student-athletes received benefits totaling less than $100 each," and "The university has said none of the textbooks or materials was used for profit or to get items not related to academics."
It's time to give those wins back.
As a recent UA graduate, I understand how expensive not only tuition can be for an 18-23 year old, but also how expensive everything else is in college in general. Textbooks, housing, parking passes, the list goes on. I worked a full-time job for half my college career and added a part-time job to that, while getting students loans I will be paying back for years.
For years, I was told I had to go to college straight out of high school, at the age of 18, to get a good job and that would be the only way to make a decent, livable wage. When young and hearing that from a teacher or counselor, it does seem like the only future option. Most high schoolers do not get jobs because the idea that grades are the most important thing in the world; so a majority of the time, college finances either come from scholarships, parents, or loans. Plus a part-time job in high school will hardly cover a semester of college, if that.
Let's put that into perspective: minimum wage in the state of Alabama is $7.25. According to the Financial Aid website, UA's in-state tuition alone is $10,780. That is 29 hours of work per week for an entire year, not including taxes, for tuition alone. No books, housing, food, gas, etc. Just tuition.
These athletes were not even getting anything out of it except helping friends who probably could not afford the costs of books, something so crucial and basic for a college education. The NCAA makes millions off of overworking these athletes and for something so little in benefit, the punishment did not fit the crime.
With the NIL Policy now in effect for athletes to essentially get paid, it is time for the NCAA to re-look into some of these punishments and change them. An asterisk on Saban's dynasty that he had nothing to do with and was beyond his control.
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