Pardon my disgust, but vacating victories is an insane concept. There are no Mr. Clean Magic Erasers in sports. It's history. Done. In the books. You can't rewrite it. This is akin to Germany vacating any association with Auschwitz. USC and Bush were the dominant team in college football in 2004. They won the BCS Championship. No magic eraser can change that.
The fans paid their money for tickets...the viewers tuned in....the advertisers paid for their spots....I think, since, now that these games and victories have been erased from the books....shouldn't they all get their money back, their time back? Not a chance. And that's why this thing will never get fixed in the current system. The athlete that cheats, in most cases, has "vacated" town before his "improper benefits" surface, with no penalty on him. The university gets embarrassed, but they got rich, so OK, they take the slap on the hand, get out the magic eraser, and go forward, business as usual.
So here's a radical idea. Make the acceptance of improper benefits while a college athlete a criminal offense. Yes, I said it. Make it a criminal offense, so that even if the athlete has already skipped town and moved on to the NFL or NBA, they can be prosecuted for their crimes. Then, have the courts nail them with major fines and jail time. That will make a student-athlete (that's a whole 'nuther blog for another day) think twice before accepting the gifts. This would move the onus off the schools and onto the athlete where the responsibility lies.
Schools also need to take responsibility, because they recruited these delinquents. So rather than just having to use the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to rewrite history that really can't be rewritten, FINE them. That's right. One of your student-athletes breaks the rules -- they go to court -- you pay a $500,000 fine. That's a big enough incentive to want to steer clear of misdeeds. While that still doesn't help the fans or advertisers that paid their money to see these "invisible" games, it will make the institutions and their coaches think twice before looking the other way (which is what happened at Ohio State, and without a doubt, happens every day at most of the "power" athletic schools that reap in millions to their university every year.)
Under the current system, there is no reason not to cheat. The hollow practice of "vacating" victories is a joke.
Eric D Schulz