The NCAA announced sanctions against the Louisville men’s basketball program on Tuesday would still be upheld despite appeal from the school. The penalties include vacating wins, return conference revenue and also vacating the program’s 2013 NCAA title win.
The sanctions came as a result of an NCAA investigation into Louisville’s improper actions with 20 prospects and student athletes where a Louisville staff member organized stripteases and sex acts at on-campus dorm parties from 2011 to 2015. It’s an investigation that in part also cost Rick Pitino his job at Louisville, though he denied any knowledge of the parties.
Kevin Ware, who infamously broke his leg during Louisville’s 2013 championship run, tweeted a pretty great reaction to the “vacating” of Louisville’s title on Tuesday, pointing out that he still has a “fat ass ring” for winning it all.
This truly is one of the weirder parts of college sports, where the NCAA demands organizations forfeit titles and make fans pretend they never happened. The loser of that championship game, Michigan, doesn’t magically win that title retroactively no matter how much fans of the Wolverines may hope, but that’s how punishment is doled out by the NCAA.
There are a lot of phantom wins out there in college athletics these days, but the real penalty felt by Louisville is that loss of revenue. That’s ultimately what matters here, both to colleges and the NCAA itself. Ware got all he could out of that title in the form of memories and some nice jewelry. I guess the nice thing about not making any money in college athletics is that they can’t come try and get it from you later.