Kyle Riviere: NCAA wins only disappear on paper

Kyle Riviere

A win is a win. Nobody can ever take it away -- unless it's the NCAA.

Vacating victories has long been a course of disciplinary action they've kept in their back pocket in the case of a player or a school bending the rules.    

Reggie Bush was a quick reminder last week as he officially gave up his 2005 Heisman Trophy to the Heisman Trust due to him and his family accepting illegal benefits while at USC.

In 2010, knowing they would take the trophy from him, Bush voluntarily forfeited his title as Heisman Trophy winner and said he would do the same with the award. Two years later, he finally followed through.

So, just like that, the 1,740 yards rushing, 16 touchdowns and numerous jaw-dropping plays Bush was responsible for that year all became irrelevant. And the Heisman ceremony where we all saw him proudly hoisting the trophy, it’s now only a figment of our imaginations.

Along with Bush losing his hardware, the NCAA took away 14 of USC's victories between 2004 and 2005, including their win over Oklahoma in the 2005 BCS title game.

Michigan basketball experienced the same kind of disappearing act.  Due to Chris Webber accepting money, the program vacated wins to appease the NCAA.  As a result, the two Final Four appearances by the legendary "Fab Five" were stripped from the record books.

Their phenomenal story of having a team comprised of five true freshmen starters make it to the title game—it technically doesn’t exist anymore.

It's time for the NCAA to finally realize that they can take away all the scholarships, plaques, trophies and banners they want, but the memories will never subside.

Unless they can get a hold of a flux capacitor, some plutonium and a vintage DeLorean, they can't change the past.  Reggie Bush deserved and won that Heisman. The Fab Five made it to those two Final Fours.

They need to stick to things they can actually change: the present and the future.

Declaring players immediately ineligible, scholarship reductions, postseason bans and fines are all perfectly reasonable ways to punish those who broke the rules.  However, taking away victories and accomplishments earned on the field is overkill

Unless they can prove a player had some type of competitive advantage such as the use of performance-enhancing drugs, the records should always stay off-limit.

As hard as the NCAA might try to bring the hammer down, vacating victories will never have the impact they always hope it will.  Because at the end of the day, wins only disappear on paper.