When the NCAA punishes an entire program for the actions of one or two people I really feel bad for the kids who did the right thing. They go out and fight like warriors to win a championship and earn rings that can proudly show to their grand kids one day.
But because of other’s carelessness and selfishness, their whole season and accomplishments will be erased from the record books. So I understand the anger and frustration of former Georgia Tech center Sean Bedford.
Bedford posted an open letter to the NCAA on his Facebook page telling the NCAA that they’ll have to “pry [ACC Championship ring] from my cold, dead finger.”
The NCAA announced yesterday that they were stripping the Yellow Jackets of it 2009 ACC championship and putting the school on four-years probation for failing to cooperate with its investigation into the football and men’s basketball program.
Below is Bedford full letter.
Thank you for handing down penalties that only adversely affect the players who did things the right way. This reeks of an organization desperate to prove that it has some sort of control over its member institutions despite lacking the ability and firepower to police the serious offenders and protect the student-athletes whose interests you purport to have at heart.
While I realize that all violations merit some kind of punishment, I have a hard time grasping the notion that one of the proudest moments in my life (and the lives of every other individual that was a part of the team and program in 2009) is apparently worth $312 in your eyes. If that truly is the case, I’d be happy to provide you with that same amount of money (cash or check, your choice) in exchange for the reinstatement of the title my teammates and I earned through our blood, sweat and tears.
It took months of hard work, dedication and personal sacrifice by a team of over 100 players, 10 coaches and countless staff members to achieve that championship, but, evidently, it only takes the handful of pencil pushers, lawyers and professors on your infractions committee to strip us of it.
I was a part of the 2009 ACC Championship team and, while you can pretend retroactively that it didn’t happen, I have vivid memories of an incredible season that was, and continues to be, one of the most fun, meaningful, important, and very real times in my 23 years on this planet. I’ll be wearing my championship ring with pride and if you want that too, you’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead finger.
I don’t blame Sean for writing this letter. I would have told the NCAA the same thing.
It’s really ashamed that Bedford and the other players from that 2009 team have to suffer for the actions of others. They did the right thing, so why do they have to suffer? Why not just go after the people who did break the rules (Athletics Director Dan Radakovich and Tech President Dr. G.P. “Bud” Peterson)?
The NCAA really need to revamp its rule because its not fair for these young men to have something that they worked hard for taken away from them.