NCAA records silliness

by Berry Tramel Modified: December 13, 2007 at 6:20 am •  Published: December 13, 2007
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I don't think Barry Sanders' NCAA rushing record is going to fall. Central Florida's Kevin Smith needs 181 yards against Mississippi State in the Liberty Bowl to break Sanders' record.

Mississippi State held Arkansas' Darren McFadden to 88 yards on 28 carries. Held Matt Forte, Tulane's 2,000-yard rusher, to 47 yards on 14 carries. Held West Virginia stud Steve Slaton to 127 yards on 23 carries.

So I think Sanders' record might survive this latest assault. But it shouldn't even be a possibility.

Sanders actually gained 2,850 yards in his spectacular 1988 season at Oklahoma State, but the NCAA then did not count bowl statistics. Bowl games now are included, but not retroactively, according to a new policy voted upon for the 2003 season.

Which is nonsense. If the 2002 Gator Bowl stats count, the 2003 Gator Bowl stats should count.

Smith's 2007 rushing totals already count 13 games, since Central Florida played in the Conference USA championship game. Now he gets 14 games to pad his total. Sanders got 11.

Jim Wright, director of NCAA statistics, said, "We did not go back and retroactively change previous records.Assuming we could even find all the bowl game stats, that would mean that some national statistical champions might change, and we did not feel that would be right to tell someone 20-30 years after the fact that they no longer were the national punting leader, as an example.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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OSU running back Barry Sanders currently holds the NCAA single-season rushing record with 2,628 yards, but Central Florida's Kevin Smith could break it with 181 yards in his bowl game. by Jim Argo The Oklahoman Archive

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