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NCAA Sanctions, Vacated ACC Titles And The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

As I'm sure you've heard by now, the NCAA rained down hard on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets today.

"Georgia Tech was fined $100,000 by the NCAA, stripped of its 2009 ACC championship in football and placed on four years of probation on Thursday for failure to cooperate with its investigation into the football and men's basketball programs."

Consistent with NCAA procedures, Georgia Tech must give back its 2009 ACC Championship trophy and the conference will not designate a champion. Basically, it's as if the 2009 ACC Championship Game never happened. And no, Clemson will not retroactively be awarded the 2009 title, which means the Tigers ACC title drought stands at 20 (which is one year less than Georgia Tech's outright ACC title drought, which now stands at 21). 

Further, the football team will have to vacate the final three games of the 2009 season, including a loss to rival Georgia and the Orange Bowl loss to Iowa. Even though Tech must return the 2009 title, the football program did not lose scholarships and there won't be a postseason ban in place, though the program does get four years of probation that will last through July 2015.

The basketball team gets rapped on the knuckles a bit harder in this whole thing. The Jackets will have a limit of 10 official visits for men's hoops during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, and self-imposes a reduction of two men's basketball recruiting days during this summer's evaluation period. 

Without a reduction of scholarships or a postseason ban, these sanctions won't affect Boston College much at all. The Jackets are only vacating three games -- of which they only won one -- and BC and Tech didn't even hook up in 2009. The Eagles are scheduled to face each other in 2012 (away) and 2013 (home), but without a reduction in scholarships, these sanctions will have little to no effect on those games. But as the NCAA's Infractions Committee stated in its report, "This case provides a cautionary tale of conduct that member institutions should avoid while under investigation for violations of NCAA rules."

Moral of the story: If you refuse to cooperate with the NCAA, be prepared for a swift and severe punishment.

Two final thoughts on this situation as it relates to Boston College.

1) Can you imagine how Georgia Tech fans are feeling today? I really can't wrap my head around what this situation would have been like if the Eagles actually broke through and won the ACC Football title in 2007 or 2008 and then seemingly out of nowhere, the NCAA swoops in and takes that title away from you. Several BCPD officers would have to be dispatched to the Tobin Bridge to stop all the Superfans preparing to jump off it. Goes to show you the importance of running a clean program and the myriad of inane NCAA rules a program can violate at any point in time. And if your program does happen to violate one of those rules, cooperation is the best policy, obv.

2) If you are a Clemson fan, does a small sense of schadenfreude come over you today after hearing Georgia Tech's punishment? What if this happened to Virginia Tech and the Hokies were forced to vacate either the 2007 or 2008 ACC titles? Would that make one of BC's two ACC Championship Game losses a little easier to swallow?