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Reggie Bush Scandal: Former USC Running Back to Have Heisman Revoked

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Reggie Bush, former University of Southern California star running back, is to be stripped of college football’s most prestigious honor—the Heisman Trophy he won in 2005—by the end of this month, according to various sources. The drama, now known as the “Reggie Bush Scandal” began in June when the NCAA found serious violations in the Trojans’ football program, and stated that during his 2005 season, Bush and his family received impermissible benefits such as plane tickets, hotel rooms, limo service, money, housing, and a car, among other things. Bush was thus retroactively ruled ineligible for the Heisman Trophy and USC was heavily sanctioned with penalties including a two-year bowl ban, a forfeiture of wins, and a reduction of scholarships.

A month later the University stated that it would remove all jerseys, signs, and memorabilia associated with Bush on display in addition to returning its replica of his Heisman trophy back to the Heisman Trophy Trust. Following the NCAA’s investigation The Heisman Trophy Trust conducted its own case, separate from that of the NCAA—and so far, it seems that the administrative body will draw the same conclusion and ask Bush to return his Heisman, stripping him of the honor.

The process of deliberation on the part of the Trust has been particularly riddled with problems, not only because of its efforts to conduct the investigation in a fair manner, but also because of the contentiousness of rescinding Bush’s award— the issue of retroactively ruling on the eligibility of a past winner has never before been presented. Were his award to be taken back, Bush would be the first player in the 75 year history of the award to have it rescinded, and the credibility of the Heisman Trophy, as well as the Trust, could be in serious jeopardy in the future.

Whether or not Bush is actually stripped of the honor remains to be seen, but one thing is certain—the issue has created a huge divide in the sports world, with some calling for Bush’s title to be stripped on the grounds that he violated NCAA bylaws, and others stating that Bush’s off-field conduct has nothing to do with the athletic prowess he demonstrated on-field—the reason the trophy was awarded to him in the first place.

Photo from adifansnet via flickr

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