You get some interesting answers, and usually they don`t fit the crime.
No chocolate milk with your lunch doesn`t exactly cover scribbling all over the living room walls with crayons and markers, painting the dog or pulling your little sister`s hair.
Plenty of major college athletic departments with programs busted for cheating apparently aren`t any more in tune with the reality of crime and punishment than your typical 4-year-old. And neither is the NCAA, which in this case is the authority figure doling out the repercussions.
One of the absolute dumbest things in sports is the practice of vacating wins from previous seasons or stripping individual star players of awards they won when it is later discovered they cheated.
Yet, it happens all the time in college sports. It is meaningless and does not act as any kind of deterrent to future cheating. It`s being bitten by a dog without any teeth.
It`s as if the 4-year-old suggests not getting any chocolate milk with his lunch only after he already has had chocolate milk with his lunch.
It`s a joke.
Ohio State is the latest institution to suggest this mockery for its transgressions.
The Buckeyes football program has won six consecutive Big Ten Conference championships but has acknowledged it used ineligible players during the 2010 season to win the latest title on the list.
A handful of OSU players traded autographs and memorabilia for money and tattoos, making themineligible. The NCAA prohibits student-athletes from profiting from their role as players.
The school also acknowledged that it`s former coach, Jim Tressel, knew he was doing so the entire season and failed to inform his bosses. Tressel was fired, though he is calling it a retirement much like a child might call being grounded a chance to watch television or play video games if you allow him.
So the Buckeyes have decided that their punishment should be nothing more than agreeing not to count their 12 wins from 2010 and two years of probation. They are not suggesting any postseason ban. They are not suggesting any limits on television appearances. They are not suggesting any reductions in scholarships and why would they when pretending to be punished is one the options?
Basically, the folks in Columbus believe their football team ought to be able to play in another bowl game this year if it is good enough to earn a trip.
A coach losing his job for intentionally breaking the rules and covering it up and a star quarterback being forced to go to the NFL a year early and everybody pretending the Buckeyes lost some games they really won is punishment enough for these people.
To the rest of us, it`s a sham.
Vacating wins or any similar proposed punishment will never be a serious answer to NCAA rules violations. Punishments must affect the future of the program and its ability to succeed to really address the problem.
There is no better way to punish any athletic department or college sports program than taking away some of its funding. Ohio State is OK with the idea of vacating its Sugar Bowl win last season, but what do you suppose would happen if that also meant the school had to forfeit the millions of dollars it made for playing in the game?
There is no way to prevent cheating in major college sports. It`s going to happen because the rewards always far outweigh the risks, especially when the punishments for getting caught aren`t really punishments at all.