Stoops: Sooners don’t want vacated title
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops won’t be laying claim to the 2004 national title that Southern California had stripped by the BCS this week.
The Trojans beat the Sooners 55-19 in a battle of unbeatens at the 2005 Orange Bowl to cap that championship season, but now the blowout has been removed from the record books.
”I don’t have any thoughts (on USC’s situation) and we’re not claiming any championships,” Stoops said Wednesday night before meeting with fans at the university’s Tulsa campus.
The BCS stripped the Trojans of their national title Monday for NCAA rules infractions involving extra benefits received by star Reggie Bush. Auburn and Utah also finished the 2004 season unbeaten.
USC will retain the title it won from The Associated Press that season.
Stoops said he believes the NCAA’s move to eliminate recognition for USC’s spectacular season could serve as a deterrent for others who would consider breaking the rules.
The BCS’ decision to strip the title – after USC’s final appeal was denied – came amid the turmoil at Ohio State, and after a season which featured constant questions about whether rules were broken during Heisman Trophy winner Cameron Newton’s process of deciding to play for eventual champion Auburn.
”I think they are sending clear and strong messages that when these things are realized, they’re dealt with,” Stoops said. ”At the end of the day then, your legacy’s dealt with as well. What you did, how you handled yourself, (if) you stood for something.
”And then there’s a record of it or there isn’t. … It’s pretty good for our players to come back 20 years from now and to feel welcome and everyone appreciate them and see their pictures on the wall and to be a part of such a legacy.”
Stoops at one point had wins wiped away from the Sooners’ 2005 season because quarterback Rhett Bomar and two other players were ruled ineligible. The victories were restored on appeal, but Stoops said even the possibility that the ”whole season was in jeopardy” affected his players.
”There has to be measures for players to know the consequences for their actions,” Stoops said. ”So, if this sends a message for other people that all of a sudden your season didn’t exist, maybe it’s a strong enough message that, `Am I going to be loyal to my team and teammates and do things right, or am I going to be loyal to myself?’
”That’s a question for everybody.”
Stoops said that it’s impossible for college coaches to keep constant watch over their players and he doesn’t believe there’s anything more Oklahoma could be doing to prevent rules violations in its program. He said he and his assistants do not deal with recruits’ handlers or agents and only ”talk to parents and legal guardians and coaches” and current players are well-educated on what actions are forbidden.
That doesn’t mean the Sooners are immune to having someone with bad intentions break the rules. Stoops compared it to everyday life situations that lead to marriages and families being torn apart.
”What they’re doing behind some closed door to somebody else, if they want to deceive you, lie to you, cheat you, whatever it may be, it’ll be done. But once it’s understood, then you deal with it however you feel is necessary,” Stoops said. ”And that’s what happens in every case.”
Even with scandals in the spotlight, Stoops said he isn’t concerned about the future of college football.
”There’ll be a national championship this year, there’ll be a top 10, there’ll be a Heisman Trophy winner, there’ll be great players everywhere and I’ll bet the TV and the country will love it,” he said.
”And the ones that haven’t done it properly … may not be in the best situations, but there will be other people in it.”
NOTES: Stoops said reserve DT Daniel Noble will seek a medical scholarship and his career is over after he suffered a concussion last season. TE Jarrett Brown intends to transfer. … He said he hasn’t had contact with Archie Bradley since he was drafted No. 7 overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the baseball draft. Bradley has signed to play baseball at Oklahoma and is also a quarterback prospect. ”I’m happy for him,” Stoops said. ”That sounds like a really special opportunity. He’s a very talented guy.”