Former USC running back Reggie Bush won the Heisman Trophy in December 2005. In June 2010, the NCAA declared that Bush was in fact not eligible to play during the 2005 season, due to the receipt of cash and other benefits from a would-be marketing agent.
To date, the Heisman Trophy Trust has not demanded that Bush surrender the trophy, even though we think it’s a no-brainer.
USC apparently agrees, given that the school has decided to return to the Heisman Trophy Trust the copy of the statute on display at the school.
In announcing that Pat Haden is in and Mike Garrett is out as A.D. at USC, the school mentioned that all evidence of the careers of the two players who got the Trojans in hot water with the NCAA — Bush and O.J. Mayo — will be removed from the school, including the copy of Bush’s Heisman Trophy.
It’s the right thing to do. Though clearly in the wrong, Bush has emerged from the controversy sparked by his own conduct largely unscathed. Apart from simply not taking money from the men who wanted to represent him, Reggie simply could have, and indeed should have, paid back the cash without a lawsuit being filed. Even after suit was filed, Bush could have helped USC avoid its current predicament by doing the right thing and settling up with Lloyd Lake and Michael Michaels.
But if Bush returns the Heisman, don’t count on Vince Young welcoming with open arms an award that he desperately wanted to receive. Joe Schad of ESPN.com reports that Young has told friends he wouldn’t take Bush’s trophy, even if it were offered.
We’ll believe it when Young doesn’t take it.