The NCAA on Thursday announced it would strip 'Bama of 21 wins and place the school on three years' probation because of a scandal that saw student athletes at the school, including several football players, improperly obtain textbooks—in some cases, thousands of dollars worth of textbooks. The wins to be vacated are from the 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons.
According to an NCAA report on the mess, one Crimson Tide player racked up nearly $4,000 in books. Of all the Alabama student athletes who participated in the scandal, the four who profited the most, the report said, were football players.
Even still, the NCAA decided against hash penalties in the case. Sure, vacating 21 wins is no small thing, but Alabama won't lose any scholarships and will still be eligible for bowl games.
As the NCAA noted in its report: "Because of the institution's status as a repeat violator, the Committee on Infractions considered both a ban on postseason competition and the enhanced penalties for repeat violators. The committee decided against those penalties because the violations were spread across several sports and other penalties, such as vacation of records, were more appropriate."
To Nick Saban, quite honestly, that's probably the only thing that matters.
This probation may look bad for Alabama—besides, the Tide have been regulars on the NCAA hit list—but the reality is, this probation is essentially toothless. It won't make life difficult for Saban. And so the Tide are likely to keep on winning.
“We’re always happy to move on and we’re looking forward to the future and are excited about the things we can accomplish,” Saban told reporters on Thursday. “I don’t think this is going to affect the vision of the program or the student-athletes in the program or that we’re recruiting.”
Photo: Nick Saban says probation won't affect his program's ability to compete. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)