Reggie to lose Heisman?

In June, the NCAA wrapped up a four-year investigation, concluding that University of Southern California star running back Reggie Bush and his family received hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts—including a limousine ride to the 2005 Heisman Trophy presentation in New York—from sports agents Lloyd Lake and Michael Michaels, in violation of the athletic association’s rules. Under NCAA rules, college athletes can’t be paid more than a small stipend by the university, and they cannot contract with agents until they declare themselves eligible for the pro draft.

An investigation has found that New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush violated NCAA rules. But student athletes can’t be expected to shoulder all of the responsibility.)

Last week, news broke that the Heisman Trophy Trust is considering stripping Mr. Bush of the award, something it has never done in the past 75 years. It should.

According to the Heisman ballot, “The recipient must be in compliance with the bylaws defining an NCAA student-athlete,” and, per the NCAA’s investigation, Mr. Bush was not.

In meting out penalties, the NCAA forced USC to vacate its last two wins of the 2004 season (including the 2005 Orange Bowl), and all its 2005 season victories. The Trojans are banned from bowl games this year and next, and will lose 30 scholarships over three years. Running-backs coach Todd McNair is also banned from off-campus recruiting for one year because the NCAA concluded that he knew about Mr. Bush’s dealings with Messrs. Lake and Michaels. And in its latest move to disassociate itself from Mr. Bush, USC removed his jersey from the peristyle steps of the Colisseum before Saturday’s home opener against Virginia.

Mr. Bush and USC, of course, aren’t the first rule-breakers. College athletics has been rife with scandals and shady dealings since the day it started. The first-ever intercollegiate athletic event was a rowing contest in 1852 between Harvard and Yale on New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee. Why not on the Charles River? Because the match was really a promotional event put on by James Elkins, the superintendent of the Boston-Concord-Montreal Railroad, designed to increase ridership. The rowers received more than $500 in swag, including gold-leafed oars and jeweled trophies from Tiffany & Co.

As for the Heisman, Georgia’s Herschel Walker won the trophy in 1982, one year after remedial English instructor Jan Kemp came forward and complained that the athletic department had pressured her to give passing grades to nine football players who failed her course, so that they could play in the 1982 Sugar Bowl against Pittsburgh (a game Georgia ultimately lost on a fourth-quarter touchdown pass by Dan Marino). Ms. Kemp was never forced to reveal those names, but the scandal tainted not only Mr. Walker’s career at Georgia, but his Heisman Trophy. He has never been asked to return his Heisman.

While the penalties against Mr. Bush and USC are a nice gesture, they’re indicative of the problem with the penalties typically handed out by the NCAA. Namely, they’re never enough to deter future bad behavior. The school lost 30 scholarships, valued at about $50,000 each. That’s $1.5 million. Last year, the participating teams in the five BCS bowl games—Fiesta, Orange, Rose, Sugar and BCS National Championship Game—each received $18 million. If you were a coach or athletic director, would you risk a $1.5 million fine in a loosely enforced system to look the other way on illicit contacts with an agent, fudge a transcript or pressure a professor to change a grade in exchange for a payday that’s 12 times what the penalty would be?

And what about Pete Carroll, the USC football coach? The NCAA found systemic violations in the USC athletic department, including “lack of institutional control”—NCAA-speak for a program with multiple violations. More specifically, the NCAA said USC was too lenient in its admission policy to football practice, which under Mr. Carroll was open to almost anyone, including potential recruits. Yet Mr. Carroll, like so many college coaches who bend the rules, has moved on to greener pastures, conveniently just ahead of the NCAA posse. Before the NCAA concluded its investigation, he traded his $4.5 million-a-year job at USC for one paying $2.5 million more, becoming head coach and president of the Seattle Seahawks.

John Calipari, the former men’s basketball coach at the University of Memphis, made a similar move. Earlier this year the school was forced to vacate all 38 wins during its 2007-08 season. The Educational Testing Service determined that star freshman recruit Derrick Rose—now making $5.5 million a year playing for the Chicago Bulls—had someone else take his SAT exam. Memphis had to pay back $615,000 in tournament revenue, while Mr. Calipari is now the highest-paid college basketball coach in the country, having signed an eight-year, $31.5 million contract with Kentucky.

And where is the NFL in the USC scandal? Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was accused of rape during the past two off-seasons but was never convicted. That didn’t stop NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell from suspending Mr. Roethlisberger for the first four games of this season. Mr. Roethlisberger’s teammates also showed their disapproval of his off-season behavior by not re-electing him team captain.

What will the NFL do now about Messrs. Bush and Carroll, whom the league is obligated to pay nearly $60 million over multiyear contracts? The answer can be found in the case of Mike Ornstein, a marketing agent who illegally hired Mr. Bush as an intern while he was still at USC, and also paid for trips for Mr. Bush’s family. Mr. Bush dropped Mr. Ornstein in 2006, but today Mr. Ornstein is still gainfully employed—as the agent for Sean Payton, coach of Mr. Bush’s Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints.

The problem is not with the kids who play prep, high-school and college sports, but with the adults. They’re the ones who are supposed to be setting the example for these kids. But with each one of these scandals, we learn that it is the parents, coaches, agents, athletic directors and college presidents who are the problem. The kids are merely following their example. And that’s why this problem will be so hard to cure—if ever.

Mr. Yost is the author of “Varsity Green: A Behind the Scenes Look at the Culture and Corruption of College Athletics.”

After watchin the bush fuck u special on real sports, I hate reggie. I hope they snatch that shit from him


He’s forfeiting it, isn’t he?

Hay!:rolleyes: I LOVE that school! My old roommates brother played ball for that school… He use to sneak us in to use the weight room, and during that time I use to see A Felix pulling up in her white Denali on her way to class.

The athletic talent that has passed through USC is unbelievable.

Come on bro, the amount of money Reggie made for USC… As a matter of fact, Reggie has made many OTHERS a lot of money, don’t know why they going after him.

It’s one of those you can’t fire me, I quit scenarios.

He’s heard/seen the reports that the Heisman Trophy Trust was probably going to take it away from him anyway-if not the award itself at least the official record of him being the 2005 winner. Therefore there would be no winner for that year. It’s probably the best PR move he could make for himself.

have been more deserving anyway. USC would likely have won most of the games without Bush. Young was Texas football. He pretty much snatched a title right out of USC’s hands. Bush was one star in a cast of stars. That was Reggie’s peak anyway. I knew he would have trouble in NFL. He can’t pull the crap he did in college. Guys too fast all over the field. He was fun too watch though.

Not what college athletics is about. Reggie is getting his chance at $ now. Plus he got free education on mine and your bill.

Don’t think he’s the only one. Auburn QB Cam Newton received in the range of $200,000. Thing is, he received it legally yet unethically as a tithe to the church his dad pastors.

watch the real sports episode on hbo. Infact reggie is the reason USC went down. Dont make promises and then back out.

This whole thing is about the “all mighty dollar”…cash money, and from the first post that kitkat posted everyone else has cleared all srutiny except Reggie. (Damn Shame)
Every athlete in college sport should form a Union, boycott college sport and DEMAND to be paid. Watch what happens then.



Reggie’s cheating was not school sponsored. Pete and his coaches were not facilitating the cheating like has been done in the past. The AGENT and REGGIE were operating on their own accord. That is what the problem is. The AGENT, who is the most culpable of the lot does not get punished in the current punishment system. The least culpable, the school/team, gets punished the most. As Nick says, “the agents are pimps”.

Your new winner is vince young!!!

Surely they are not going to do that.

Mack Brown keeps up with his shit though, unlike Pete Carroll. He knows what’s going on with his kids. Earl Thomas and Sergio Kindle weren’t going to drive up with a hummer without Mack knowing who bought it.

WEll this agent was wasnt even a agent. Reggie fucked him. Reggies pops tells dude give reggie this and that and he will pay u back and sign with you. oh bye the way by me and my wife a house…draft day reggie signs with…not him. Agent says ok just give me my money back. Reggie shoots him the bird…USC scandal begins. All because of the bush family.

That’s right. Reggie getting his due then.

Absolutely correct, Chris.

Will do…

That would be awesome! It would be really nice to see male and female athletes walking away with a degree and some cash in the bank as a collage graduate and not have to worry about trying to go pro to feed their families. I will admit, I say, the stipulation would be that they could not touch the money until they were 30.

Ha, I use to work at a company that filed a 501-c3. I call this making money in the “gray area”.