*Things are not looking good for former USC Heisman Trophy winner, Reggie Bush. It looks like the university is trying to get rid of its memory of him.
In his younger days, while playing for the Trojans, Bush rushed 3,169 yard during his three seasons on the team, helping them claim the 2004 BCS national championship. The following year he was awarded the Heisman. But after some reported dealings with prospective agents, the NCAA and the world of football put Bush under the microscope.
In a letter to the USC “family,” the president-elect of the school Max Nikias announced that any paraphernalia that recognizes any memory of Bush will be removed from display, including the Heisman Trophy. The same goes for basketball player, O.J. Mayo. However, it is unknown if the award will be stripped from Bush.
“The Trojan Family honors and respects the USC sporting careers of those persons whose actions did not compromise their athletic program or the opportunities of future USC student-athletes,” wrote Nikias.
Meanwhile, Mike Garrett, a former Heisman trophy winner himself, and USC’s athletic director for the past 17 years, will also be replaced by former USC quarterback and Rams player Pat Harden. He will take his position Aug. 3.
NFL.com says Harden is a respected member of USC’s board of trustees, is firmly ensconced in Trojan lore. In 1974, he led a 55-24 victory over Notre Dame still known at the school as “The Comeback,” and his final-minutes heroics in the 1975 Rose Bowl — a touchdown pass and a two-point conversion pass — gave USC an 18-17 victory over Ohio State.
The new athletic director plans to scrub the mere image of both Bush and Mayo from the culture of USC sports. He says he would like to eliminate the mere reference of either of the players.
In a report released by the NCAA, Bush and his family allegedly received improper benefits from marketing agents while he was playing at USC.
As a result, the school has been severely penalized and stripped of any victories from late 2004 through 2005, which includes the national title over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. USC will not be able to participate in the Orange Bowl for the next two years and will lose 30 scholarships for the next three years.
Bush has not admitted to any wrongdoing, but he did express his regrets for the situation.
“This thing, regarding USC and the NCAA, is the closest thing to death without dying because I have such a great love and respect for the university,” Bush said. “This has been one the toughest things I’ve had to deal with in my life.”
Pete Carroll, former Trojans coach who went back to coach the NFL Seahawks, denies any knowledge of the past dealings.
“I do feel responsible being connected with it,” Carroll said of USC’s troubles. “I’ve also felt a responsibility, with the way it’s come down, to work to try to get the message out there and defend somewhat.”
According to NFL.com, USC appealed some of the sanctions June 25, seeking to cut in half its bowl ban and scholarship restrictions. A ruling on the appeal isn’t likely until several months into 2011, and the Trojans already agreed to serve a bowl ban in the upcoming season.