Friday, September 15, 2006

Reggie Bush Busted by Yahoo!
Shanoff: Heisman his Heisman!
Is Auburn the REAL '04 champ?

Reggie Bush could be screwed. USC will be screwed. The upshot: SO WHAT NEXT?!

Congratulations to Yahoo! Sports on the site's biggest scoop ever and by far the biggest story of the day/week/month in sports:

An investigation that busts Reggie Bush for taking $100K in freebies from would-be (and will-be) marketing reps -- a follow-up to their original scoop a few months ago first peeling back the onion on this.

Here's the direct link to their story.

The whole scandal raises three key questions:


One of the most frustrating things about college sports scandals is that the player who does the damage is rarely punished – he's off to his millions in the NFL, virtually untouchable, leaving everyone else to deal with the crap.

Except in this case. There is something punitive that can be done to Bush that would hit him where it really hurts:

Take away his Heisman. Call it my "Heisman His Heisman" campaign.

He may have been the most exciting player ever in college football, but that doesn't mean he can't make himself ineligible for the Heisman Trophy.

I'd strip Bush of the trophy and give it to runner-up Vince Young. That's adding insult to injury. (And righting a wrong: The Rose Bowl proved that VY deserved the Heisman last year.)


I like Dan Wetzel's first-to-market argument that the NCAA take away USC's 2004 national title.

The most fascinating upshot? That makes Auburn your 2004 national champ. (Remember: Auburn was unbeaten and controversially left out of the BCS title game. They ended the season No. 2 in the final BCS rankings. If I was Auburn, I would start this p.r. campaign RIGHT NOW.)

It's too bad that the rest of the team would have to pay for Bush's mistakes; that's perpetually the biggest injustice of NCAA sanctions.

(And speaking of sanctions, the NCAA has got to punish the program going forward, beyond retroactively stripping them of their national title. I'd take away two years of bowl eligibility. If I was the Pac-10, I'd throw in a year of not being allowed on TV. That's the 21st century equivalent of the old 1980s "death penalty." No TV? Nooo!!!)


Yahoo has a report that the RBs coach knew about the Bush situation and didn't do anything about it. That guy better polish up his resume. Maybe Reggie can get him a job cleaning toilets for the Saints.

But I think it would be a mistake to let Pete Carroll off the hook, simply because he claims not to have known anything.

As the head of the program – its CEO, effectively – he is responsible for what happens. To think that he didn't keep tabs on his best player either shows remarkable willful negligence -- or remarkable willful stupidity. With either excuse, do you really want that guy coaching your team?

I'm sure USC will slap him on the wrist, but let's please not accept his "I didn't know nuthin'" plausible deniability. It was his JOB to keep his players – and program – clean.

Comments spin-off question: What's your take on this entire thing? If it's all true, what's the most appropriate punishment? How do you reconcile the inability to really punish Bush with all the weight of his infractions falling on the USC program? Where's USC's culpability in all this? What do you think of my "Strip-the-Heisman" idea?

-- D.S.


Christian Thoma said...

If USC is forced to Forfeit its games, Oklahoma has to be the national champion because they are the 'winner' of the championship game. So if you want Auburn to be the national champion, you'll campaign against forfeiture.

adnteh said...

While I like the Heisman forfeiture idea, I disagree that it's the only thing that will hurt him personally. He will be liable to other people if you forfeit their titles. and really, where does that leave his buddy Leinart?

Christian Thoma said...

Leinart wouldn't lose his Heisman because it's awarded based on performance. Leinart would just be the first Heisman trophy winner to win the Heisman after losing every game of the season.

Sean said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sean said...

This would be a good morning for the MQ. Anyway, take away his Heisman and give USC the death penalty.

Christian Thoma said...

The real loser in all this: West Virginia. Suddenly, the Mountaineers become the last thing College Football fans want to discuss.

Jake C said...

Here's the main problem with punishing the team for one player, half of the guys who are there now and will be for the next 3 years weren't playing with Bush.
I am a HUGE supporter of taking away his Heisman. In addition, here's a perfect punishment for ALL of those who do such a thing, you have to pay your entire school tuition back. Every one of these players had a scholarship, so in reaction, they need to pay it all and lose the money.
The coach should also receive some type of punishment as its his job to monitor his players. As for the team, yes, take away the National Championship, and ALL of their games. You want to send a message to the current players? Fine, don't take away their Bowl eligibility, but show that if they don't step forward with knowledge, they will lose everything they worked for AFTER the fact.

Unknown said...

How does this rate on the infractions scale?

I doubt the NCAA will have the chutzpah to do anything too drastic. However, the Heisman committee should take away the award.

Jingoist said...

You absolutely have to:
1. Strip the 2004 National title
2. Fine Reggie Bush, USC, and even the coaching staff (if there is evidence they did, in fact, know).
3. At least 2 years Bowl probabtion, and last, but not least,
4. Pull 4 scholarships per year for 4 years from the school's NCAA budget. Nothing causes more insanity for a D-1 program than losing scholarships that then all the school's sports can bitch about because you just know that USC would direct those losses on sports programs other than football (swimming anyone?). Make it a mess for everyone in the administration (AD, president, board, etc.) and that's more trouble than simply probating the football team.

jhawkjjm said...

If this is proven, his Heisman is gone. If the NCAA strips his eligibility, he has to lose his Heisman as only eligible players can win it. I'd love to see USC get punished severly here. No TV would be great, but I doubt it would happen. What would be just as painful, if not more so, would be a MAJOR reduction in scholarship and heavy recruiting restrictions.

Now it won't happen, but just imagine the fallout if they found something on Leinart and stripped him of his Heisman. His heisman would go to Adrian Peterson!! 1st.Freshman.Heisman.EVER!!

FreKy J said...

I've always wondered why some of this stuff is deemed illegal by the NCAA, but other similar things aren't illegal. For example, a multi-million dollar insurance policy was taken out on Willis McGahee's potential career before he played in his final game against Ohio State (and got hurt). No normal person would ever get this, so how is that legal in the NCAA if players aren't allowed to receive any special benefits?

Brian in Oxford said...

No TV for USC, Dan? That's no big deal. They could produce and webstream their own games....that wouldn't be hard, and wouldn't count as TV, either. And, the novelty of the idea would make it buzzworthy. A major college using the Internet to sidestep sanctions....who wouldn't be curious enough to watch?

William Joseph said...

How can you take away the whole team's achievement because of one player's off field actions? What if it was a backup that played only a few plays all season? What about an active player that never saw a down? Where will the line be drawn?

If you want to take away his Heisman though, I guess I can see that. However, there would be a huge * next to Vince Young if he gets it.

Brien said...

Here's what I would do, if I were in charge of the various groups that would make these decisions:

1) Strip USC of its title, citing the "lack of institutional control" issue

2) Take Bush's Heisman away

3) Force USC to refund all TV and bowl monies received for games in which Bush played

4) Suspend Pete Carroll for one year

5) Force Bush to reimburse USC for all tuition, room and board, books, and other items covered by his scholarship on the basis that he breached his contract with USC.

6) Force USC to refund all donations (from alumni and corporations) made to the university during the time that Bush was at USC.

Ah ... you don't like #6? Think about it ... who are the people who pay these monies? Usually alums/boosters (usually). Would the university do a better job of policing this stuff if they knew that their endowment funds would be adversely affected?

Seriously. If USC knows that its alums have been giving in huge amounts because of the football team's recent success ... what incentive does USC have to police the boosters and such ... because no matter what the boosters do, the university still gets to keep the funds raised.

8) No TV for USC ... one year for every year Bush was on the team.

9) No bowls for USC ... one year for every year Bush was on the team.

10) Loss of scholarships equal to the number of years Bush was on the team, for the number of years he was on the team (so, if he was on the team three years, USC loses three scholarships each year for the next three years). These losses would be *cumulative* (so, by the end of the third year, USC would have lost six scholarships).

Ouch ... you don't like #10, either? Again, these penalties can only be penalties if they actually hurt the program.

What about the poor kids, you say? Well, what about 'em? They're the ones who make the deals and take the dosh ... if they care so little for the NCAA rules, why should the NCAA care about the program they soiled?

Respect and caring should be a two-way street. Diss the program by taking money/cars/whatever ... and then watch the program get trashed. Make the trickle-down effect such that there becomes a groundswell from bottom to top that hopefully changes the climate. Because the climate will never change from the top-down.


CorrND said...

So what you're saying is that an ineligible player illegally pushed Leinart into the end zone to beat ND?

J-P said...

Give Vince his Heisman!

Allen Wedge said...

He broke a rule sure, but the rules are stupid. All of it originally exists so that schools can't bribe potential high-school and transfer athletes to go to their school.

Bush was already at USC once all this started, not to mention this was all froma marketing agent, NOT a USC booster AND none of this made him go to USC or made him win anything not to mention it surely didn't cause USC to win anything, why strip them of titles, they didn't cheat and neither did Bush.

Yeah according to the rules someone should be punished, but the rules are stupid... Money for a suit to the heisman ceremony... ye gods they helped him fit in with the other candidates damn him he should have shown up in a T-shirt and jeans.

Aitch said...

Take his hiesman, but leave the national title alone. If these allegations are true (and let's face it, they probably are) then Bush should be held accountable. But I think it is unfair and irresponsible to the other kids who fought and played hard for that title to take it away. And it is also unfair, as a previous commenter stated, to punish kids who are there now that had nothing to with Bush or the previous titles.

T-Mill said...

throttle the program. Give them the death penalty. It's about time someone suffers for this. if the NCAA has any balls they'll do it.

Trey (formerly TF) said...

You cannot take away a national title because they don't exist plain and simple.

The only school ever penalized for this is the 84 Florida team. They would have won the National Title if Charlie Pell's allegations hadn't come out before the end of the season. The result? A bowl ban, the coaches not voting for them at all, and 3rd in the AP. BYU won the National Title.

USC cannot be held FULLY accountable, but you gotta penalize them.

slaskaris said...

First off, before everyone gets carried away with stripping their national title, heisman, and dealth penalty (laughable!!), they would first have to prove that this happened and when. Do we even know that he took money during the championship season? Even if he did, Auburn or Oklahoma won't get the championship. Does anybody remember when Bama won the championship in 92 over Miami and then later Antonio Langham was found to be ineligible for taking cash. Their title was "stripped away" and they forfieted those games. But Miami wasn't given the title nor does anybody remember years later.

So keep dreaming if you think a title or Heisman will be given to someone else. And to answer Dan's question: "Would you want Carroll as your coach?" Um, yeah!! Feel free to send him to Knoxville to coach my Vols anytime USC doesn't want him.

Anonymous said...

Everyone here is overacting. Taking away titles and the Heisman will prove what? Anything Bush did off the field had no bearing on game results. You really think VY and Okla. want paper trophy's and titles?

Also, this happened between Bush and Agents, not a booster. That's not lack of institutional control. These players aren't locked up and protected 24-7, SC can't control them all the time.

And I saw "fine Bush" - ha, that is moronic at best.

And before everyone denounces SC, go look under the rocks at EVERY major school.

Anonymous said...

This brings up a bigger point, why aren't star athletes, or athletes who play on sports that generate huge sums of money for their athletic departments paid?

iamunstoppable said...

we will all remember who *really* won these awards anyway (and they'll always have the barry bonds asterisk next to it), so taking the heisman and title away on paper is BS.

who cares.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

when a football team earns $12 just for going to a BCS game and the players get zero......

sure they get a scholarship but come on, if you helped earn $12 mil for someone and you got ZERO, I think you'd be pissed and apt to accept a little something on the side from an agent or a booster.

Anonymous said...

and "congratulations" to the guys who got the scoop? This is like paparazzi journalism. They're just trying to make a name off of someone else....

Anonymous said...

watch tens of thousands wear your jersey, sales that make millions for someone else while you get zero and aren't well off, then talk to me from your high horse.

Anonymous said...

If an agent pursues a player the school is not found liable under new NCAA rules unless it can be proven that there was complete negligence and how is that possible to prove.

Wrong. The 2001 rule gives the NCAA the discretion not to include the school in the sanctions if it can be demonstrated that the school is blameless.

The standard of proof is dead opposite to what you state. Before 2001 the NCAA had to invoke team sanctions no matter what.

Badass Of The Year said...

I think if this turns out to be true, he should be stripped of his Heisman. No this may not have any effect on his NFL career. But I think stripping him of Heisman will lead to one of those press conferences similar to Milli Vanilli's when they had to give up the grammy. Not that Reggie was as heinous as they were by far.

My ideal situation would involve a truly remorseful Reggie, (cause after all he doesn't really seem like an asshole.) I think he should go proactive, before people try to get legal on him. He should offer to pay for his tuition, etc while he was at USC, and also donate quite a few scholarships. Of course this probably won't happen, but it would be refreshing if it did.

Oh and Isaiah Thomas, your idea of paying college athletes is insane, no wonder my Knicks suck. Without the colleges the athletes would have nowhere to showcase their talents. If they help generate revenue for the program they are just in turn helping their NFL stock rise. The payoff comes when they sign those big fat contracts.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for a chick talking sports but "pay for a few scholarships" - come on. You people are acting like he we Rae Carruth.

My point isn't to pay all college athletes, but if a team generates MILLIONS for a university and doesn't get anything then maybe you pay them something. Maybe its minimum wage - like they get paid for hours practiced, get a % of the bowl payout - just something. Put it in a fund that they can't receive UNTIL THEY GRADUATE.

I really don't think its a crazy concept.

Anonymous said...

I'd say pay only those teams that actually made money for their schools