This just in: The NCAA’s Infraction Appeals Committee has turned down Alabama’s final appeal in the textbook scandal. This means the 21 vacated victories officially comes off the books after the hung in limbo for nearly a year.
Here is an excerpt from the NCAA’s news release:
The university appealed only the vacation of records penalty, which affected its football, men’s tennis and men’s and women’s track and field programs. The university argued on appeal that the vacation of wins penalty was excessive such that it was an abuse of discretion as it did not consider the university’s cooperation. The university also argued that the penalty: (a) was not consistent with past cases which included a vacation of records; and (b) did not follow previous textbook case precedent.
In its affirmation of the penalty, the Infractions Appeals Committee disagreed. It noted that the Committee on Infractions mentioned several times in the public report that it had considered the university’s cooperation. Further, when discussing the role of case precedent in penalty decisions, the Infractions Appeals Committee noted that two cases are seldom exactly alike and that the Committee on Infractions must have latitude to tailor the penalties to the specific facts of each case.
In considering the university’s appeal, the Infractions Appeals Committee reviewed the notice of appeal; the transcript of the university’s Committee on Infractions’ hearing; and the submissions by the university and the Committee on Infractions.
The wins that now officially never happened include:
2005: Middle Tennessee, Southern Mississippi, South Carolina, Arkansas, Florida, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Utah State, Mississippi State, and Texas Tech (Cotton Bowl).
2006: Hawai’i, Vanderbilt, Louisiana-Monroe, Duke, Ole Miss, and Florida International.
2007: Western Carolina, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Houston, and Ole Miss.
Alabama president Robert Witt had this to say on the matter:
“The Appeals Committee acknowledged that their decision in our case is not consistent with the NCAA’s prior textbook and vacation-of-wins cases, which was the heart of UA’s appeal. Despite that acknowledgment, however, the Appeals Committee did not find an abuse of discretion. We are disappointed by the committee’s inconsistent decision given the negative impact the decision has on hundreds of uninvolved student-athletes and their coaches.”
Said UA athletics director Mal Moore:
“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. 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.”
Check back later for further updates.