Louisville will vacate its 2013 men’s basketball championship. The banner will come down and the result scrubbed from history. The official position will be that it never happened. You never saw it. ‘Twas but an illusion.
But it did happen. The 2013 Cardinals may no longer be national championships, but they beat Michigan in an all-time classic title game. Luke Hancock and Spike Albrecht matched dagger after dagger. The officials called Trey Burke for a key foul. That happened, though Wolverines fans will tell you the foul never existed in the first place.
Rick Pitino, in happier times, got that now outdated tattoo. The students partied deep into the night. Baubles were passed out and the spoils of victory feasted upon. Kevin Ware’s horror was turned into inspiration.
The world moved on. We saw it. It happened.
And now the NCAA, not without good cause, wants to wave a wand and erase history. It wants to turn life into an episode of Lost, to blur the lines of fact and fiction, the real and the surreal. The thing is, only a select few will choose to exist on the revisionist island. The rest will continue living their lives with the memories of Louisville’s title run.
Today is symbolic yet still largely meaningless.
If forced, yes, people will remember the championship was vacated. Some will surely have strong feelings on the decision. But life will go on, largely unchanged, even at Louisville, where they know what they saw, even if it “didn’t happen.”