The New York Daily News called it "a black eye." The Los Angles Times proclaimed it "one of the most punishing losses." And USA Today remarked it "added to Oklahoma's pain."
Those widely read publications were not talking about the Dust Bowl or even Oklahoma County Commissioner Brent Rinehart's latest online photos. The subject of the newspapers' assertions is the slap down the National Collegiate Athletic Association handed the University of Oklahoma.
The NCAA investigated the program after the university reported last year some of its players were paid for work they did not perform at an off-campus job. One of the players was starting quarterback Rhett Bomar.
OU officials, including head coach Bob Stoops, thought they had done the proper thing by reporting the violation to the NCAA and kicking the players off the team last August. They commended themselves for their swift and appropriate action.
However, the NCAA held up its hand and reserved accolades until a more thorough examination had been conducted. The association then took its held-up hand and swatted OU in the fanny for not being a proper nanny. The NCAA determined OU "failed to monitor" its players and set forth several punishments, including vacating all of the team's wins in 2005.
OU President David L. Boren reportedly said the Sooners would appeal the win erasure and the NCAA's "failure to monitor" finding.
"We do not believe that erasing the 2005 season from the record books is fair to the over 100 student athletes and coaches who played by the rules and worked their hearts out for a successful season that year," Boren said.
Stoops agreed with Boren's decision.
"Our current team is focused on the upcoming season," Stoops said. "The university is dealing with a matter that relates to the 2005 season. This group of players and those that will join our program later have no reason to be concerned about our goals or the direction of our program. Those things remain unchanged."
The NCAA ruling means OU didn't win those games, but neither did their opponents. The games never happened. They were just a dream.
Adrian Peterson rushing for 237 yards against OklahomaStateUniversity never happened. A 31-24 win over Nebraska? Never heard of it. A thrilling fourth-quarter finish to win the Holiday Bowl: Whatcha talkin' about, Willis?
Quite an interesting punishment from the NCAA. Hey, all those games you Sooners won in 2005? Well, just scratch them off the record books; they were just a dream.
About that ticket for parking on the sidewalk near Campus Corner? You still have to pay that.