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College Football: Take the money adn vacate BCS title

By Ray McNulty
Associated Press
Since the sainted men serving on the Bowl Championship Seriesí Presidential Oversight Committee are so concerned with doing whatís right, Iíve got only one question: When do they give back the money?
For the tickets? And the travel? And the memorabilia?
From the 2005 BCS national-championship game ó the one played in Miami, but, according to the BCS, was a fraud?
Surely, the BCS, which this week vacated Southern Calís 55-19 Orange Bowl rout of Oklahoma because Reggie Bush received improper benefits, will offer refunds, right?
The fans who flocked to South Florida to bear witness to college-football history were sold on the BCSís promise that they were attending a bona-fide national-championship game. Thatís why they invested their time, their money, their emotions. Now theyíre being told it didnít really happen, wasnít legitimate, doesnít count.
The feelings, the memories, the souvenirs ó all are now as meaningless as that game. Yes, football was played and a trophy was awarded, but the BCS says there was no champion. It was just an over-hyped and overpriced exhibition.
So if the BCS doesnít offer refunds, then the people running it are hypocrites. To keep the money generated by a bogus championship game is the moral equivalent of a player accepting improper benefits. And that makes the BCS no better than Bush.
But donít hold your breath: Unless thereís a class-action suit, the BCS isnít giving back a dime.
Truth is, Southern Cal broke the rules, but the BCS went too far. The NCAA already had hammered the Trojans with severe sanctions ó a two-year bowl ban and the loss of 30 scholarships across three years ó so there was no good reason to pile on.
Besides, vacating wins is silly. Often, it punishes the wrong people, as was the case when the NCAA robbed Bobby Bowden of 12 victories at Florida State because of an academic scandal. Usually, itís irrelevant, as is the case with Southern Cal, because we know who won.
Then thereís this: What, exactly, is the statute of limitations on prosecuting such misconduct?
Bushís graft goes back to 2004. The ever-vigilant BCS was so eager to get out in front of this scandal that it responded seven years later. So when are you safe?
The Florida Gators won national championships in 2006 and 2008. Last summer, however, there were reports alleging that former center Maurkice Pouncey was paid $100,000 in December 2009. Nothing came of the allegations and the story has gone away.
But what if it comes back? What if some other wrongdoing involving some other Gator comes out? Heck, what if we find out that guys from the championship teams at Miami and Florida State took payola?
Do the NCAA and BCS take action? Do those titles get vacated? Do those fans get refunds?
Donít hold your breath.

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