If USC, Bush cheated, should they lose BCS title, Heisman?

  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. In the old days they used to come up with a decision about six weeks after the hearing. Not any more.  Hey, it’s complicated and this is one of the most complicated cases ever.

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?

 

JACK HAIRSTON, RIP: We lost Jack Hairston over the weekend. Jack wrote for the AJC early in his career but was best known as longtime sports columnist for the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun.  He was 81 years old. Jack was a member of the Football Writers Association Hall of Fame and is survived by his wife, Marilyn, and two daughters.  Jack was a good man and helped me early in my career. Please keep his family in your prayers.

 

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www.twitter.com/MrCFB

393 comments Add your comment

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
6:52 pm

“I got forrest over here shining my replica of the bcs trophy. ”

Well, I got yer mom/sister over here shining my knob.

Beast from the East

May 17th, 2010
6:53 pm

Tide, I think we’ll pass. He’d probably drop it!

Tide Rising

May 17th, 2010
6:53 pm

Forrest,

AU had an excellent team in 2004. I’m not denying that. All I’m saying is that ultimately the weak ooc schedule is what kept them out of the bcs title game. All the voters, analysts, talking heads, etc. seemed to collectively believe that is what held AU back and put OU in the game.

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
6:54 pm

“He’d probably drop it!”

Nah, I’d urinate on it.

Beast from the East

May 17th, 2010
6:55 pm

Brandon Spikes. I couldn’t have been prouder after all of the cheap shots the Dawgs were taking early in that game. We don’t get mad down in Gainesville……WE GET EVEN!

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
6:55 pm

“All I’m saying is that ultimately the weak ooc schedule is what kept them out of the bcs title game.”

No, actually their ranking at the beginning of the season kept them out. Besides, their schedule was tougher than USC and OklaHOMO.

Just sayin…..

Tide Rising

May 17th, 2010
6:56 pm

Forrest,

I’m actually enjoying your banter. I have to admit I laughed out loud when you wrote that I had the IQ of a carrot. That was genuinely funny. But the nonsense about my mom/sister shining your knob is just childish. Get back to being witty like with the carrot/IQ comment. You can do better than childish I got your mom/sister jokes. I got faith in ya.

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
6:56 pm

“I couldn’t have been prouder after all of the cheap shots the Dawgs were taking early in that game.”

Why do you cheer when women bulldawg players get beaten up by thugs?

I guess you love violence against women. Shame on you.

“WE GET EVEN!”

Every time you get even, Tebow cries.

kgator79

May 17th, 2010
6:57 pm

Forrest….name one player who has played on the field under meyer after beating up a woman.

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
6:57 pm

“But the nonsense about my mom/sister shining your knob is just childish.”

Awe…..

Tide Rising

May 17th, 2010
6:58 pm

Forrest,

You would urinate on the bcs trophy? I guess that’s just human nature. People always resent and envy those things which they themselves do not have.

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
6:58 pm

“name one player who has played on the field under meyer after beating up a woman.”

Spikes. He beat up that woman UGAY player.

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
6:59 pm

“People always resent and envy those things which they themselves do not have.”

Then that would be you as well seeing that YOU personally don’t have a national title.

Beast from the East

May 17th, 2010
6:59 pm

Women bulldawg players? Haven’t you heard? They have the best recruiting classes ever! They put more players in the pros than anyone. They just get hosed by the refs and because they have to play UF in J’ville every year. It’s so not fair!

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
7:01 pm

“They put more players in the pros than anyone.’

They must have not heard of Notre Dame or USC. Matt Stafford is awesome!!!!! He went 2-13 last season!!!!!!

kgator79

May 17th, 2010
7:01 pm

yeah Cam Newton is such a top rated QB that not many were after him except Miss. State, Tennessee and Auburn all schools that are pretty messed up at the QB position. Even when he was at Florida he was not showing much of anything and fell to 3rd on the depth chart in 2008 behind Brantley. But glad your happy with your backup gator QB.

Tide Rising

May 17th, 2010
7:01 pm

Now forrest is calling the bulldog players women. Is there anyone this guy doesn’t insult? Kinda funny actually.

Beast from the East

May 17th, 2010
7:02 pm

But you gotta admit, the kid is gettin’ PAID!
Hell, I’d play for the Dawgs for that kind of money!

Tide Rising

May 17th, 2010
7:02 pm

kgator79,

Wouldn’t that have made him the Florida backup backup qb instead of just your backup qb?

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
7:04 pm

“yeah Cam Newton is such a top rated QB”

5 star rated qb, ma’am.

“Even when he was at Florida he was not showing much of anything and fell to 3rd on the depth chart in 2008 behind Brantley.”

You’ll be missing Tebow, ma’am.

Tide Rising

May 17th, 2010
7:05 pm

I just noticed that Forrest wrote “that woman UGAY player”. And earlier it was not one but 2 references to OklaHOMO. No doubt about it. This guy has either issues with women or homophobic issues.

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
7:06 pm

“Now forrest is calling the bulldog players women.”

You don’t get jokes, do you?

“Wouldn’t that have made him the Florida backup backup qb instead of just your backup qb?”

I have an idea, let’s wait and see what happens THIS year. You gals fail to understand that last years Auburn squad was reeling from a Tuberville screw up. It’s not like we could go out and fork over 100 million dollars to a Nick Saban…….

Beast from the East

May 17th, 2010
7:06 pm

Seriously, I was impressed with Cam Newton’s physical abilities. Kind of reminded me of Jamarcus Russell with a motor. Never did get to see too much of him on the field because of Tebow. I hope it all works out for him over there in Auburn. Just made a few really stupid mistakes.

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
7:07 pm

“This guy has either issues with women or homophobic issues.’

Look ma’am, if you’re gay and I insulted you, sorry. If you can’t handle simple humor then that’s your problem. Go take it up with Rosie O’Donnell.

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
7:08 pm

“Just made a few really stupid mistakes.”

Like all athletes.

Hairy Dawg

May 17th, 2010
7:10 pm

Theres only one word for the things happening – Jim Thorpe. Reg Bush did same as Thropes and he screwed over for winning. Got to be giving credits to USC for goning for the wins and Dawgs got to be doing it to as we get ridding us of Adams-Evans. Then we play for titles with SEC speed with talents better than Bushs. As long we got Adams-Evans we holding back and not commintting to the winning.

Beast from the East

May 17th, 2010
7:10 pm

Gump, I’m still not sure about Chizik. Didn’t come with mush of a resume and I was really surprised when he was named the HC. I was impressed with how Auburn competed last year after the whole Tuberville fiasco. I’ll be interested to see how he does in the next 2-3 years when he can get some of his own recruits on the field. What do Auburn fans think of him?

Tide Rising

May 17th, 2010
7:11 pm

Forrest,

Go take it up with Rosie O’donnel. You’re getting better again cause I did in fact laugh about that one. Still chuckling. Got anything more?

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
7:12 pm

“I’m still not sure about Chizik.”

So? Let him coach.

“Didn’t come with mush of a resume”

So, being at Auburn in 2004 and Texas in 2005 didn’t do anything for you?

“What do Auburn fans think of him?”

We give him the benefit of the doubt.

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
7:13 pm

“Got anything more?”

Tons. But you;’ll just call me a homophobe, racist etc……..

Tide Rising

May 17th, 2010
7:15 pm

Beast,

Tubbs did a horrendous job recruiting his last 2 years so Auburn’s sophomore and junior classes are terrible. They do have a really good senior class this year of something like 26 players. Cheezik will probably have a decent 8-4 campaign, go to a 2nd tier bowl, and Malzahn will probably get that head coaching job that will open up somewhere. Then Cheezik will have 2 really weak upper classmen jr and sr classes the next 2 years and will regress back to subpar records and get fired in 2012 or 2013.

Reggie

May 17th, 2010
7:16 pm

I met an attorney who said the ncaaZis have to be on the take $$$. No other explanation for their inconsistent punishments.

Beast from the East

May 17th, 2010
7:16 pm

I was talking about his resume as a head coach. Not very impressive. I would have thought they would go after a HC with a history of winning AS A HEAD COACH. But like I said, I was impressed with the effort they gave last year. Time will tell.

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
7:18 pm

“Cheezik will probably have a decent 8-4 campaign, go to a 2nd tier bowl, and Malzahn will probably get that head coaching job that will open up somewhere. Then Cheezik will have 2 really weak upper classmen jr and sr classes the next 2 years and will regress back to subpar records and get fired in 2012 or 2013.”

Then again, Bama fans said that Mike Debose and that guy who got fired for prostitution would bring home a national championship…..

Tide Rising

May 17th, 2010
7:18 pm

Forrest,

Actually Coach Cheezik did fantastic in his last year at Iowa State. He only went 2-12 but he did put the whupping on double aa North Dakota State and also Murray State. Don’t mess with the Cheezik.

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
7:18 pm

“I would have thought they would go after a HC with a history of winning AS A HEAD COACH.’

Like who? Not many great coaches out there.

Beast from the East

May 17th, 2010
7:18 pm

Tide, all I can say is…OUCH! That’s not a very optimistic POV.
Let’s just say you’re not a huge Auburn guy and leave it at that.

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
7:19 pm

Tide Rising

Yeah, and Nick Saban did awesome in the NFL. He was so damn impressive.

Tide Rising

May 17th, 2010
7:19 pm

Reggie,

That wouldn’t surprise me. Its a corrupt, politicized organization that is answerable to no one.

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
7:19 pm

“Tide, all I can say is…OUCH! That’s not a very optimistic POV.’

Yeah, well Bammer fans still celebrate the Civil War in their frat houses. What can you say?

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
7:20 pm

“Its a corrupt, politicized organization that is answerable to no one.”

That sums up Bama to a T.

Tide Rising

May 17th, 2010
7:21 pm

Beast,

It is what it is. Cheezik owns North Dakota State! Murray State too!

Forrest,

Saban in the NFL? Who cares? What relevancy does that have to do with what he has done at Bama?

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
7:22 pm

“What relevancy does that have to do with what he has done at Bama?”

Says he’s a quitter who runs away……much like he did at LSU.

“Saban in the NFL? Who cares?”

Uh……the NFL……..

Beast from the East

May 17th, 2010
7:23 pm

“Like who? Not many great coaches out there.”
Well, they could have made a run at the guy from Bosie St., Cincinnati, UNC and Pitt to name a few. I just remember us hiring the Zooker (which I still love) in a panic and it did not turn out very well. He was a great recruiter, but couldn’t keep his emotions in check and totally lacked discipline.

Tide Rising

May 17th, 2010
7:23 pm

Forrest,

good one. I like it the one about it fits bama to a T. But it doesn’t compare to the well known installemtn plan AU had for players under Pat Dye. But his plan made sense that certain positions like Tailback get paid more than a position like offensive guard.

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
7:25 pm

“Well, they could have made a run at the guy from Bosie St., Cincinnati, UNC and Pitt to name a few. ”

Boise States coach was not available. As for Cincy and UNC, they were both NOT on the radar.

TCU’s coach was.

Tide Rising

May 17th, 2010
7:25 pm

Saban is a quitter who ran away from LSU after winning a national title? Huh? No ma’am. A quitter would be a guy who leaves Iowa State after going 5-17 over 2 years. THAT would be a quitter.

Forrest Gump is the most famous Bama grad

May 17th, 2010
7:26 pm

“But it doesn’t compare to the well known installemtn plan AU had for players under Pat Dye.’

Like who? Frank Thomas was never paid. Neither was Stephen Davis…..

Pat Dye would kick your a$$ for saying that. Mean dude.

Tide Rising

May 17th, 2010
7:26 pm

Forrest,

What the hell does the NFL care if Saban coached or didn’t coach there? If he won or didn’t win? Make some sense child. You’re starting to disappoint me.

Tide Rising

May 17th, 2010
7:27 pm

Forrest,

Tell Pat Dye to shut up and go deliver Eric Ramsey his free steaks.