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Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: Alabama and the NCAA: Vacating Wins and Common Sense

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Alabama and the NCAA: Vacating Wins and Common Sense

The University of Alabama was caught providing student athletes with free textbooks and for this sin the NCAA is forcing the Tide to vacate twenty-one wins in football and records from three other sports from 2005 to 2007 ("Alabama's penalty from '09 ruling stands").  The university describes the punishment as "so excessive as to constitute an abuse of discretion."  The penalties were certainly more severe than historical precedents.  The NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee said that the NCAA needed latitude in meting out punishment because no two cases were the same. 

Again the NCAA paints itself into an odd corner.  Top athletes are underpaid and, as this case demonstrates, over regulated.  Under normal circumstances, lowering the cost of education is considered a good thing.  If the student happens to be an athlete, it is bad.  If the regulation changed and all division I programs were able to provide free books, the competitive balance would not change.  Does anyone believe that USC, Texas, Ohio State, or LSU couldn't find free texts for athletes?
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  1. Jenna14
    I feel that they should be punished it's not right that just because you are an athlete you should get more privilages or better understanding from someone else. Everyone that goes to that school should be treated equal weather you are paying to go there on a scholarship or anything else. You should earn your way not given.

  2. Green Beans13/4/10 5:18 PM

    I believe that it is not fair that they were able to get free textbooks, but the punishment stated above is very severe. It's not as if them receiving free text books made them win their games. I believe a less stiff punishment is in order.