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Reggie Bush situation costs USC 2004 title

National Championship Rose Bowl: USC v Texas Getty Images

In April 2006, when we first caught wind of rumors involving Reggie Bush’s family getting rent-free housing with the understanding that the money would be made back — and then some — via the representation of Bush as an NFL player, we had a feeling it would cause plenty of problems for Bush and for USC.

We had no idea the process would take so long that, by the time a conclusion was reached, no one would really care.

After years of sluggish investigation limited by the impotence of the NCAA when it comes to former college athletes but ultimately buoyed by a lawsuit Bush stubbornly refused to settle, Bush lost his 2005 Heisman last year.  Now, as the boys at CFT explain, USC has lost its 2004 national title due to the fact that Bush was ineligible to play.

It would have been even worse for USC, if Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns hadn’t overcome the Trojans a year later in the BCS title game.  But for Young’s late heroics, USC would have won — and ultimately lost — two national titles.

On one hand, it’s difficult to chastise the Trojans, given what we’ve since learned about (The) Ohio State and what we all now suspect regarding each and every successful college football program.  Guys are getting paid; the only question is whether they are also being discreet.

For Bush and USC, the worst-case scenario arose not because of indiscretion but because Bush consistently refused to pay back money that he received with the understanding that he’d hire Lloyd Lake and Michael Michaels to handle his lucrative marketing rights.  If Bush had only forked over a small piece of the millions he pocketed from adidas and Subway and other sponsors in 2006, he could have saved his Heisman, along with USC’s national title.

That said, the fact that it took so long for the NCAA to reach a conclusion makes it easy for the men who played for USC to shrug at the outcome.  “We all got our rings, we’ve moved on, and I don’t think this decision has affected the way we view that season,” quarterback Matt Leinart told ESPN earlier tonight.

We suspect that Bush and Pete Carroll and every other member of that team will feel the same way.  The passage of more than six years from winning the title to losing the title tends to do that.

And so the real lesson going forward is that:  (1) the NCAA needs to do a much better job of enforcing its rules on a timely basis; (2) the NCAA needs to do a much better job of enforcing its rules on a consistent basis; and (3) the NCAA needs to dump its rules and allow schools to pay these kids a fair amount for the risks they take and the revenue they generate.

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29 Responses to “Reggie Bush situation costs USC 2004 title”
  1. BlackAndGoldAllDay says: Jun 6, 2011 7:49 PM

    College football sucks.

  2. iDroidX says: Jun 6, 2011 7:49 PM

    So the NCAA should strip Auburn of the National Title in 2017?

  3. joegibbsisking says: Jun 6, 2011 7:53 PM

    (3) the NCAA needs to dump its rules and allow schools to pay these kids a fair amount for the risks they take and the revenue they generate.

    And let the football Church as AMEN!

  4. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Jun 6, 2011 7:59 PM

    ” the NCAA needs to dump its rules and allow schools to pay these kids a fair amount for the risks they take and the revenue they generate.”

    It’s a FREE education with room and board. As a UVA player told me when I was in high school. They use you, you use them. He graduated in 3 years and had his masters by the time he finished his 5th year. You know how much that would cost an out of state student at UVA? Well well into the 6 figures. It’s up to the “student athlete” to take advantage of the opportunity presented to them. IF they choose to throw that opportunity away not only is that their problem but it will also cost them later in life when A) they don’t make it in the NFL or B) they have no plan for post football life. I’m not saying colleges don’t take advantage of them, but they simply fail to take advantage of the colleges in return. It’s really that simple.

  5. beastofeden says: Jun 6, 2011 8:05 PM

    Still went to school for free
    can’t “unplay” those games
    parents still got housing for free
    Bush still went 1st round
    still got million dollar contract
    still on cover of NCAA 07

    “We all got our rings, we’ve moved on, and I don’t think this decision has affected the way we view that season,”—–Truest words ever spoke.

  6. kire562000 says: Jun 6, 2011 8:22 PM

    I guess I’m supposed to forget the 70 points USC hung up on Oklahoma that night. Yeah right. They can’t erase the tape, no team in college football could touch that team.

    BTW when will they take Auburns title? When is the Ohio St penalties coming down. Oh, that’s right, they’re not!!

  7. Thomas says: Jun 6, 2011 8:26 PM

    Taking away wins and titles, especially more than 7 years later, is ridiculous. Nothing Bush did affected the game. He did not get an unfair advantage when competing on the field. What USC might consider is suing Bush or stipulating in full scholorships that they can sue players should they do something which affects the school. SC should sue Bush for all the lost revenue due to the bowl games they cannot play and the better performing teams they would have field had they not lost the scholarships. Of course, the simpler solution would be to end this “amateur athlete” fantasy and let schools pay players.

  8. mike83ri says: Jun 6, 2011 8:35 PM

    (3) the NCAA needs to dump its rules and allow schools to pay these kids a fair amount for the risks they take and the revenue they generate.

  9. bleedgreen says: Jun 6, 2011 8:41 PM

    thereisalwaysnextyear says: Jun 6, 2011 7:59 PM

    It’s a FREE education with room and board. As a UVA player told me when I was in high school. They use you, you use them. He graduated in 3 years and had his masters by the time he finished his 5th year.
    ——————–

    If you’re in a top program, when do you have time to do all that? Theres 3 weeks in the summer without camps after the end of school. If you’re not in class, you’re at practice. When is there time to actually take on MORE credits? When do you eat? How do you make ANY money? You gonna find a summer job for 3 weeks that will make you more than $200 a week? How long is that $600 gonna last you to eat and pay for your cell phone and put gas in your car?

  10. duanethomas says: Jun 6, 2011 8:53 PM

    Bush was either very stubborn or stupid.

    All he had to do was pay back the money and all would have been well.

    Now he’s a pariah in the USC football circle (not like Orenthal James) and USC got hammered by the NCAA.

  11. nmking26 says: Jun 6, 2011 9:01 PM

    “thereisalwaysnextyear”

    When you’re earning your schools millions of dollars (or in Reggie Bushes case…tens of millions of dollars) you have the right to get paid.

    Take the free education and room and board out of it (which you can get even if you’re some band guy or a science genius), they get nothing for killing their bodies, in order for the school to get those hundreds of millions of dollars that they get.

    I might be in the minority, but if a company is making millions directly off of me and my peers, I’d want to be paid.

    The other students can get paid, so why can’t the football players get paid? How come the science major who also has a full ride scholarship gets to take that paid internship and can work all day if he pleases at a job but the football player cant?

    If they aren’t entitled to any money on the side, why should the other college students be?

  12. brasho says: Jun 6, 2011 9:07 PM

    So let the colleges pay the athletes? In the end, who pays for this? Tax payers! Forget about it! Free educations are worth $10-25k a year, considering the 1st class treatment these athletes get (unlimited meal tickets, the best tutors, wink nod arrangements for class participation, and the fame and extra benefits the athletes get just for being on the team-girls, popularity, girls, free stuff) their schooling is nearly priceless.

    Despite this you say you want to pay these guys? Talk about the sisters of the poor, there would NEVER be any way to compete with the better schools then with the Boise States never being able to outpay a USC for a prospect. This would be ridiculous. There would be no more recruiting, it would all be about who pays the most. Bidding wars for 17 year olds… classic… and STUPID! You think that the athletes act like they’re entitled now… wait until you start paying them large sums of money to attend the universities (and they already get a monthly stipend already!).

    Cut the liberal propaganda and let’s focus on enforcing the rules, please!

  13. tfbuckfutter says: Jun 6, 2011 9:08 PM

    In a rare move, The NCAA has officially stripped The NCAA of it’s entire record book.

    Beaverton Beavers of the Pop Warner Football League named 2010 BCS Champions.

    *UPDATE* Beaverton stripped of title when records show 3 of their players were 17 years old.

    **UPDATE 2* Beaverton also stripped of 2009 Championship when records show Terrell Pryor played for that team in exchange for use of the coach’s dirtbike.

  14. tfbuckfutter says: Jun 6, 2011 9:09 PM

    “mike83ri says: Jun 6, 2011 8:35 PM
    (3) the NCAA needs to dump its rules and allow schools to pay these kids a fair amount for the risks they take and the revenue they generate.”

    Spoken like someone who never had to pay a student loan.

    Just because players don’t actually take advantage of the education they are provided for “free”, doesn’t mean they aren’t receiving value in exchange for their work.

  15. valman61 says: Jun 6, 2011 9:41 PM

    The NCAA doesn’t have to pay players, at least not like the NFL. Let’s be serious here, for every good college program that could afford multimillion deals for players, 25 can not. It would completely ruin the competitive balance. They should give kids a weekly allowance of cash so they can drive a car, eat, and have enough where they don’t “need” more to sustain their lives. They also should adopt Olympic style rules, where players are free to profit off the field using agents, marketing, and other revenue avenues generated from their image, brand, and future potential. Players who have serious potential will make allot off the field and busts will burn agents and so forth, but who cares. Have a strict policy on approved agents, brands, and possible revenue streams where an independent body approves all off field deals, but make them legal. There is no reason to stop an agent, brand, or other party from paying a guy to use his off field image or future potential. Just make sure being paid to play has severe consequences and is strictly enforced. Everything else should be fair game. It doesn’t ruin the competitive balance of the game and still allows every player and school an equal chance of making big money and being successful.

    I just don’t get it, if an agent wants to pay a guys rent, buy his mom a house, him a car, and etc in order to get him to sign with him, why stop it? The agency can spend it’s money how it chooses and student athletes can make big money staying in school. Furthering their education, keeping players in college all four years, and at no extra cost to the school. What’s the downside?

  16. goldsteel says: Jun 6, 2011 10:13 PM

    All this started because Reggie Bush wouldn’t pay back the supporters at USC. So they had to take Reggie to court. The rest is history.

  17. indycolt45 says: Jun 6, 2011 10:17 PM

    I say we pay the players but take away the scholarships. They’ll get paid, but they’ll need to pay their way like the rest of us.

  18. tommyf15 says: Jun 6, 2011 10:20 PM

    kire562000 says:
    I guess I’m supposed to forget the 70 points USC hung up on Oklahoma that night.

    The rest of the world already forgot about fifteen of them.

    (Hint: the final score was 55 – 19).

    Add me to the list of people that says no one is hurt by a booster allowing Reggie Bush or anyone else to live rent free.

  19. drasarp says: Jun 6, 2011 10:59 PM

    RE: Reggie Bush situation costs USC 2004 title

    I don’t agree. Reggie Bush was merely the target the NCAA used to get Pete Carroll and USC.

    Read the story behind USC’s penalties:

    SEE: http://tinyurl.com/3cl349q

    OR:

    http://www.conquestchronicles.com/2011/5/29/2194947/ncaa-dont-look-at-the-other-hand

  20. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Jun 6, 2011 11:02 PM

    bleedgreen says:
    Jun 6, 2011 8:41 PM
    thereisalwaysnextyear says: Jun 6, 2011 7:59 PM

    It’s a FREE education with room and board. As a UVA player told me when I was in high school. They use you, you use them. He graduated in 3 years and had his masters by the time he finished his 5th year.
    ——————–

    If you’re in a top program, when do you have time to do all that? Theres 3 weeks in the summer without camps after the end of school. If you’re not in class, you’re at practice. When is there time to actually take on MORE credits? When do you eat? How do you make ANY money? You gonna find a summer job for 3 weeks that will make you more than $200 a week? How long is that $600 gonna last you to eat and pay for your cell phone and put gas in your car?

    The guy I was talking about actually played TWO sports at UVA. Are you kidding me they don’t have time? STUDY and go to class. It’s really not that hard. Put the play station down and concentrate on getting it done. Yeh, maybe you don’t have a lot of “extra” time to “hang out” or play around but that’s the real world. I work 60-80 hours a week. Could I work 40? Yeh, but I wouldn’t achieve what I do and wouldn’t have the career I do. It’s all about choices and hard work. I live by 3 words. “Dedications, determination and commitment”. Maybe the schools could do a better job educating these kids that they have about as much chance as making it in the NFL as they do winning the lottery, but who wants to crush a kids dreams right? Don’t even pretend there isn’t the time in the day to do both football and school. It’s that they choose NOT to. They have tutors, they have flex schedules, they have everything to give them a chance to succeed. I’m so tired of people blaming everyone except the kids that pi$$ away the opportunity they “earn” by playing.

  21. realitypolice says: Jun 6, 2011 11:08 PM

    I called my bookie and told him that I wanted to cash my Oklahoma bet from the BCS championship game.

    He told to do something to myself that I don’t actually think is anatomically possible.

  22. cosanostra71 says: Jun 7, 2011 12:26 AM

    Thomas says:
    Jun 6, 2011 8:26 PM
    Taking away wins and titles, especially more than 7 years later, is ridiculous. Nothing Bush did affected the game. He did not get an unfair advantage when competing on the field. What USC might consider is suing Bush or stipulating in full scholorships that they can sue players should they do something which affects the school. SC should sue Bush for all the lost revenue due to the bowl games they cannot play and the better performing teams they would have field had they not lost the scholarships. Of course, the simpler solution would be to end this “amateur athlete” fantasy and let schools pay players.

    ————————————————–

    As a USC fan, I couldn’t disagree (respectfully of course) more. USC doesn’t need to sue Bush. They’ve taken every legal recourse possible, what they need to do is move on and put this whole ordeal in the past. They need to deal with the sanctions that have come from this incident, not continue to rehash it. What is done is done, time to move into the future.

  23. canjura says: Jun 7, 2011 1:40 AM

    indycolt45 says: Jun 6, 2011 10:17 PM

    I say we pay the players but take away the scholarships. They’ll get paid, but they’ll need to pay their way like the rest of us.
    ___________________________________

    extremely interesting idea, except in all honesty, you’d have to regulate each school and make every single player paid the same regardless of what school you’re at. Regardless of position, how many schools actually want him, etc, you’d still need to pay every single player the same because then you might as well remove the divisions and make D1 into a 20 team league as only 20 or so schools could compete every year and the Oregon (and other under dogs) of the world would never be able to hang with the powerhouses.

  24. upperdecker19 says: Jun 7, 2011 2:21 AM

    No playoffs = no champion.

    How do you strip a championship that doesn’t exist to begin with?

    More accurately….the 2004 favorite of the computers, writers and coaches after their annual exhibition season (stupid money making bowls) no longer exists as mythical champion.

    USC keeps bowl money.
    USC keeps all cash made from attendance, merchandise, etc.
    Reggie Bush & family keep all cash, cars, houses, etc.
    Pete Carroll keeps high paying job w/ Seattle that he took when he quickly bolted town in the midst of this “investigation”.

    Does anyone in their right mind think that anyone associated w/ USC cares?

  25. yippityskippity69 says: Jun 7, 2011 2:27 AM

    Honestly, does anyone think Bush or any of the other players from the 04′ team actually cares about this ruling? With thed Ohio State scandal and the fact that it’s no secret top prospect college players get paid one way or the other, the NCAA better figure it out soon. Paying college players is not the answer, bigger schools will odviously be able to “Pay” guys more money due to bigger budgets and there will be flat out championships bought n paid for!

  26. purdueman says: Jun 7, 2011 2:56 AM

    The NCAA taking away past won titles is little more than a paper tiger. Nobody gives a damn what the NCAA does in this regard; everyone saw with their own eyes who won when the clock ran out and who didn’t!

  27. weneedlinemen42 says: Jun 7, 2011 5:01 AM

    I can see the argument, student-athletes do receive significant compensation already. That free ride is saving them an awful lot of money.

    The argument tends to fall down when you realise that it is almost impossible to get to the NFL without passing through the college game.

    To get to the pros you really have little choice but to serve out several years in college. That free ride doesn’t look quite so tempting now. If there was a choice, if there was a genuine route to the NFL, a junior league, that played professional ball then everyone would have the choice, free ride or paid ball, the NCAA would have a leg to stand on.

    Unfortunately, what we’ve got is a monoply, a cartel saying that is basically standing astride the path to the NFL demanding 3-years of service in return for providing an extra place at their university.

    Again, that wouldn’t be so bad if everyone was capable of taking advantage of a multi-year degree course, but what about the guys who aren’t. The idea that everyone in the NFL was capable of benefitting from a graduate degree is rediculous. There needs to be an end to the traversty of football-players being forced to pretend they are student-athletes.

    How many talented high-school footballers are being denied an opportunity to progress to the highest levels because they cannot meet the academic requirements to enter college? How many colleges are turning a blind-eye to the scholastic problems of men who can play football, of guys who can make far more money for the college than it costs to provide them with free room and board?

    How many academically qualified students miss out on a college education because they could not afford it, whilst someone who only wants to play football and is unable to take advantage of the academic opportunity receives a full-scholarship? Is that really the best thing for the country, pretending that the ability to play-football and academic ability are always found in the same individual. It might just make sense to provide higher education to people who can take advantage of it and will use it in the economy, whilst allowing people with physical talent to use it without having to pretend they are also students.

  28. gdeli says: Jun 7, 2011 7:38 AM

    he just should have waited for he money to come in. do it right!

  29. hineswardcriesafterfumbling says: Jun 7, 2011 8:36 AM

    First off, stripping a title is a worthless gesture. Everyone knows USC won the 2004 national championship, just like everyone knows Reggie Bush was the best player in college football.

    Second, I can’t stand when people dismiss the value of the scholarships that these guys get. Free room and board, a free education from a quality school, and they aren’t saddled with debt from student-loans after graduation.

    @bleedgreen
    There is a 3 month gap between the end of spring ball and the start of camp the beginning of August. Plenty of time to find a summer job. If you’re at a top program, you can stay at the school over the summer, work out, take a few classes, and have a job. When commentators talk about a guy graduating in 3 years, most of the time it isn’t because the guys a genious, it’s because he’s taking classes year-round. Non-scholarship athletes make the same sacrifices the scholarship ones do, except they have to find ways to pay for their education. If a guy like Terrelle Pryor wants some spending money, he should go get a loan like everyone else has to do.

    The only way you can stop these kids from taking stuff and breaking the rules is to strip them of their eligibility. Every player knows you can’t sell your personal stuff or accept free or discounted things for an autograph or whatever. If they knowingly break a rule, they’re done. A meaningless penalty 7 years after the fact won’t accomplish anything.

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