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05-17-2010, 09:42 AM
If USC, Bush cheated, should they lose BCS title, Heisman?
8:09 am May 17, 2010
by Tony Barnhart

The 125-year NCAA investigation (okay, that’s a SLIGHT exaggeration) into the University of Southern California football program and star running back Reggie Bush is expected to mercifully come to an end soon. There were rumblings that the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions would release its report last week but it didn’t. The investigation has been going on since 2006 so what’s a few more days? USC went before the Infractions Committee in February. Normally a report comes about six weeks after that meeting so the decision is way past due. Hey, it’s complicated.

This all happened a long time ago so let’s recap: Bush, the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner, allegedly received $300,000 in cash and other benefits from a two “gentlemen” (Lloyd Lake, Michael Michaels) who wanted to be Bush’s agent. But Bush stiffed those guys and went with another agency. They sued. NCAA investigators hoped that Bush would be put on the witness stand or, at the very least, have to sit for a deposition. Lying to NCAA investigators has no consequences unless you’re a current college player (ask Dez Bryant). But lying under oath gets you fitted for a striped suit and tin cup. It came as no surprise when Bush settled the case out of court rather than be compelled to tell the truth about his relationship with the two gentlemen in question.

I don’t have to tell you that a lot of people are watching this case and are handicapping the outcome. Opinions differ. Former USC coach Pete Carroll, who got out of town (Seattle Seahawks) in January just ahead of the NCAA posse, said last week that he would be surprised if tough sanctions came down.

But elsewhere in the college football universe, this is seen as a big case test on whether or not the NCAA has the stomach to take down a high-profile football program that is not named Alabama.

If only half of what has been reported about Bush is true and USC skates on this one, there will be a nuclear eruption in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Crimson Tide program was hammered for rules violations in 2002 and the penalties came with a considerable amount of finger wagging from the NCAA. Who could forget infractions committee chairman Tom Yeager saying that the committee considered giving Alabama the death penalty? He said that Alabama was “absolutely staring down the barrel of a gun (death penalty)” but the committee settled on a two-year bowl ban and the loss of 21 scholarships over three years.

Will the NCAA have the same righteous indignation for misbehavior and lack of institutional control, if proven, that takes place on the West Coast?

It is going to get pretty nasty if USC just gets a slap on the wrist.

Here are two big questions to keep in mind as we await the USC verdict:

No. 1: The qualifications for winning the Heisman Trophy clearly state that the recipient must be NCAA eligible. What if the NCAA proves after the fact that Bush was NOT eligible when he competed and won the Heisman in 2005? Many Heisman winners have had brushes with the law after winning the award but none has ever been stripped of the honor. On its website it says that the “Heisman Trophy Trust ensures the continuation and the integrity of this award.” But would the Heisman Trust want to open this can of worms? My friend Tom Shatel of the Omaha World-Herald suggests that if Bush cheated his Heisman Trophy should just be “vacated” or just stricken from the record books like it never happened.

Here is what I would do. If it is proven that Mr. Bush was ineligible in 2005, rather than set the precedent of vacating the award for that year, I would simply send Mr. Bush a letter telling him he is no longer welcome at any function honoring past Heisman Trophy winners. You can keep the hardware, Reggie, but you are out of the club. Of course now that Mr. Bush has been paid handsomely by the NFL I’m sure he feels the ends justify the means. In short, shame is probably no longer part of his makeup.

No. 2: Even if the NCAA puts USC on double-secret probation and takes away a bunch of scholarships, that body cannot strip USC of its 2004 BCS national championship. That’s because the NCAA doesn’t award national championships in Division I-A football. And what the NCAA does not giveth, it cannot taketh away.

The BCS does not have an enforcement arm and really doesn’t want to get into the enforcement business. But BCS officials have told me that they would have to consider it if the NCAA proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that USC cheated.

So I’ll put it to you. If the NCAA Committee on Infractions gets the goods on USC—and I’m talking about lock-solid proof– should the BCS take away the 2004 national championship and should Reggie Bush be stripped or otherwise publicly separated from 2005 his Heisman Trophy?

And what happens if, after four years of investigating, the NCAA comes up with nothing?

05-17-2010, 10:27 AM
I lifted this post off of a board from a guy who lifted it off a USC board. Take it for what it's worth, but it still sounds interesting.

USC at odds with NCAA over proposed sanctions

I have it on very good authority that USC has been going back and forth with the NCAA about the proposed sanctions on the athletic program. The NCAA has come back twice in recent weeks and told USC that it was ready to levy sanctions, but each time SC has cried foul and used their legal team to push back on the NCAA. He said that they have even challenged the NCAA's ability to levy certain sanctions, and they have let the NCAA know that they are prepared for a landcape-changing legal battle if the sanctions are too harsh. In other words, SC has stopped playing nice and is now threatening a very lengthy and costly legal battle that would challenge the NCAA's jurisdiction like never before. He mentioned that other schools around the country are pushing the NCAA to stand its ground. He thinks USC is trying to bluff the NCAA into something lighter while "negotiations" are still private. He said that USC would probably reverse course if and when this becomes a public process (like after sanctions are announced). He says it is truly unprecendented for the NCAA to have a school threatening to challenge its role. He said that legal bills for USC are well north of $2 million already, and that SC has no shortage of $ to fight. What will stop USC is the bad press if they try to fight the NCAA and come off looking like spoiled cheaters. Sorry if this is rambling - I am typing as I recall our conversation today.

USC feels they have been successful to a certain degree already. They have already apparently persuaded the NCAA to ratchet down the sanctions on the football program to a certain extent, but USC is not satisfied yet and is still working the NCAA. There is regular dialogue between the NCAA and USC, and most of the dialogue is initiated by USC. He said if 2 days go by without any word from the NCAA, the USC legal team is calling them. The USC legal team feels it can create a bit of a niche in bullying the NCAA, and they think that any success they have this time around can be used to get other universities to hire them - no joke. It's an entrepreneurial opportunity! That's really the way they have been talking.

I don't make this stuff up. I have a business associate who is a real estate tycoon, and he is one of SC's largest boosters - let's leave it at that.
Norman Michaels

05-30-2010, 09:00 PM
Remember when we all thought something would happen with this? Those were heady days weren't they?

05-31-2010, 08:16 AM
At this point and the more I read the more I won't be surprised if they get punished or if they don't. I do believe that if they are found guilty they should have to give up the national title because they cheated to get it. I also believe that Bush should have to give up the Heisman because he cheated to get it. I don't think either of those happen but they should.

05-31-2010, 12:37 PM
They're not going to do ****. I hate USC.


05-31-2010, 03:56 PM
SoCal is the most spoiled program in the business. The NCAA term "lack of institutional control" should be applied - except that I feel that the school is completely in control and is just regularly pushing the envelope.

Severe penalties are in order, they just won't occur.

Bayou Bengal 72
06-09-2010, 06:01 PM
Last week the USoCal Athletic Department denied that they had received the NCAA report, usually released to the school 48 hours prior to the NCAA Releasing it to the media.

However, today the USoCal Athletic Dept issued a "No Comment" when asked if they had received the NCAA's Report which may indicate that they have received it from the NCAA.

In a related story, USA Today has an article that says how the BCS could vacate the 2004 BCS Title won by the Trojans.

Current BCS executive director Bill Hancock confirmed that back in early 2007, the Bowl Championship Series drew up a policy calling for teams' BCS appearances and BCS titles to be vacated when major rules violations subsequently are discovered and the institutions are sanctioned by the NCAA.

Hancock emphasized, "Nothing would happen until the very end of the NCAA process, including any appeals."

If it substantiates the Bush charges, the NCAA could find that he played for USC while ineligible and vacate the wins in which he took part.

That would be the BCS' cue. Its policy stipulates: "When the NCAA or a conference makes a finding of violations … and imposes a sanction of forfeiture or vacation of contests in which an ineligible student-athlete participated, we will presume that vacation of participation in a BCS bowl game is warranted." That's if the player in question participated in that BCS game or in victories that led to the bowl berth.

The BCS' Presidential Oversight Committee, made up of university CEOs and currently chaired by Nebraska's Harvey Perlman, would make the call.