Football looking at long road back to top

By Cole Sheeks, Sports Editor
Follow him at @ColeSheeks

Vacated sports accomplishments have always confused me.

I am familiar with the concept. Team X cheated in various games, so part of their punishment includes the loss of all the positive achievements the team and the players earned when they cheated.

The idea makes enough sense, yet, as it applies to EC and the NCAA ruling, it really just seems like a great big shame.

The individuals who were members of the vacated conference championship teams put in hours upon hours of hard work to earn those titles only to see them taken away due to what seems to be a technicality.

Now to be fair, you can debate how much losing the volleyball and wrestling championships really matter in the big picture of EC sports history.

Julie Hall has been the head volleyball coach at EC for 24 years and her teams have won the CCIW title via the regular season or conference tournament a combined 15 times.

The program has an entire wall dedicated to it in the fieldhouse. They have experienced their fair share of success and losing a few championships is not going to hurt them that much.

It is pretty much the same story for wrestling, as the team has won eight CCIW titles since Steve Marianetti took over the program prior to the 2002-2003 season, including a pair of three peats over a nine year time period.

That is a borderline 90’s Bulls level of dominance in CCIW wrestling.

I cannot imagine there will be many tears shed around the conference over the fact that Hall falls down to a mere 11 conference titles and Marianetti slips to seven.

However, none of this applies to the EC football program.

That 2012 football championship was the only CCIW title the Bluejays could lay claim to since 1980.

It was one of three total football championships in school history and it was the year of the program’s only playoff appearance.

With the title being vacated, the only EC alumni who can still say they witnessed a football championship while they were on campus are approaching retirement age.

What I’m trying to say is that winning the 2012 CCIW football championship was a big freaking deal around here.

Vacating that title sucks. Period.

Volleyball and wrestling compete year after year and will surely run into more championships in the future. Meanwhile, football is on the decline and the now 37 year title drought for football does not appear to be on the verge of ending anytime soon.

And it only gets worse as you put it into perspective.

Three different schools claimed a share of the 2012 CCIW football championship: North Central, Wheaton, and EC.

For North Central, I’m sure winning the CCIW was exciting, but it was their seventh championship in a row (and they won an eighth in 2013 before winning again last season).

Over in Wheaton, it was a similar story. The title represented the Thunder’s sixth since the turn of the century and, just like North Central, they have won another two since.

As for EC, they have been mediocre at best since 2012 and they have completely fallen off the face of Earth this season.

The road back to the top of the CCIW for the program appears to be a lengthy one and the loss of their most recent conference championship will not help matters.