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Tuberville on curbing cheating: ‘Hurt them in the pocketbook’

Unless you’re like the dude in the Geico commercial and been living underneath a rock for the past year or so, you know that some schools have been coloring outside the line of the NCAA rulebook. So much so, in fact, that SEC commissioner Mike Slive, in laying out his “national agenda for change” last week at the conference’s media days, said that the game of college football “has lost the benefit of the doubt” when it comes to public perception.

The NCAA has tried sanctions such as stripping scholarships, probation, vacating wins and the like, but those seem to have done little to curb schools hellbent on setting up shop in the gray area.

So, what’s left for the NCAA to do? As noted by Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville recently, the collective bank accounts are about the only weapon left if the NCAA truly wants to cleanup its image.

“Money,” Tuberville said when asked during a radio interview Friday evening about the root of the current issues facing the game and how to change it. “It’s all about money and until the NCAA decides that they’re going to start penalizing teams, not just scholarships, but taking away games and forfeiting BCS money that was made, it’s going to continue to happen. ...

“You get caught, you get penalized. If you get games taken away, bowl games taken away immediately; you have money that you give back, that’s when the president’s start listening. Of course the presidents are the ones who make these rules, so that’s one of the reasons we have this problem. If somebody breaks the rule, let’s deal with it, let’s penalize them and set them back, take money away and really hurt them. Hurt them in the pocketbook. Until they start doing that, you’re not going to see anything change.”

We’ve taken our share of shots at Tuberville, almost exclusively because of his incessant whining over the ’04 Auburn team after USC was stripped of its BcS title, but it appears he’s on track with this point. It appears the only thing that will get these program’s attention, their president’s attention, is when they have to give back a multi-million BcS check, or forfeit some of the tens of millions of dollars of television revenue they receive annually from broadcast networks or their own networks -- or both.

If the NCAA and its membership truly care about cleaning up the game, the idea that Tuberville and many others have advanced should at least be part of the discussion.