USC’s Bushed, Then Whacked by the NCAA

Before the Heisman Trophy Trust could take it from him, former USC running back Reggie Bush gave back the Heisman he won in 2005. Bush is the first Heisman winner to relinquish the trophy in its 75 year history. The Trust has decided to leave the 2005 Heisman vacant instead of giving it to runner-up Vince Young of Texas.

Although, according to Bush, it’s not an admission of guilt, he did the right thing.

Of course this all stems from the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s investigation of the University of Southern California’s athletic department.

It took four years for the NCAA to investigate allegations that Bush and his family received lavish gifts, money, a house and who knows what else and, finally, lay down the hammer on Troy.

Although Bush never admitted accepting all of the above, the sanctions levied USC, including its football team, most of them based on the Bush Allegations, made it a “fait accompli.”

So, who gets shafted by all this?

Not Bush. Yet. He’s having a stellar NFL career, making millions of dollars, with the New Orleans Saints helping them to their first Super Bowl championship last season. But once he retires and figures out his college alma mater wants nothing to do with him, that’ll be a tattoo on his legacy and conscience that can’t be removed.

This current and future crop of USC football players, those who had nothing to do with what transpired in 2004-05, are the ones who are thoroughly shafted. The next two seasons, these kids have no shot of being rewarded for their hard work with a bowl berth. It’ll take at least three seasons after the bowl sanctions before USC can even get back into the National Championship hunt.

Same goes for the current members of the USC men’s basketball team. They’re left with a “no post-season tournament sanction” for two seasons (including last season) because of the fiasco that was “one-and-done cager“, O.J. Mayo*. Mayo’s enjoying a lucrative career with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. He could care less about USC.

Of course, USC loses out on post-season bowl and March Madness purses because of the sanctions.

A very knowledgeable and unnamed source of mine called the NCAA the most duplicitous organization in this country.

He, basically, called the NCAA an “old boys club” made up of hypocrites. My knowledgeable unnamed source is absolutely right.

“What’s your take on today’s students being punished for infringements and incidents caused by athletes 4-5 years ago. I think it’s unfair for these kids to suffer.” My unnamed source continued, “Punish the school and the coaches. Not the kids now playing who are innocent of wrong-doing that happened way before they arrived on campus, or graduated high school for that matter.”

Sure enough, because of the sanctions, many Trojan recruits were allowed to leave for other schools.

Under former AD Mike Garrett and football coach Pete Carroll, practices and game sidelines included a “who’s who” of Hollywood stars and who knows who else, giving many, including those with dollar signs in their eyes, access to these amateur athletes.

There’s the major mistake.

Under new AD Pat Haden and new football coach Lane Kiffin, that isn’t allowed any longer.

“Fine Mayo and Bush and the (expletive) who fed and paid them hoping to get a slice of their financial pie in the pros. The (expletive)leaches should be barred including companies like NIKE and Adidas. The NCAA is so duplicitous in that they don’t outright BAR these companies from the campuses.”

My unnamed source also thinks the NCAA should be punished for taking four years to figure it out.

“I could have told them in 20 minutes. That’s why Mayo went to a non powerhouse basketball team. He had better offers until someone said…CASH.”

Take a look at these tidbits from the world of the NCAA:

November 18, 2008 (espn.com)

“The BCS and ESPN announced a new four-year contract Tuesday. ESPN outbid Fox, which is paying $80 million annually to broadcast the games from 2007-10.”

“ESPN’s offer was for $125 million a year, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations. The person requested anonymity because the networks are not releasing financial details.”

Headline from April 22, 2010 (ncaa.org)

“NCAA signs new 14-year TV deal for D1 men’s basketball. CBS and Turner join forces to pay $10.8 billion for tournament rights fee.”

Next time you watch an NCAA collegiate event on television or in person, notice the NIKE Swoosh somewhere on that uniform the student-athlete is wearing.

After Alabama beat Texas in this past January’s BCS Championship Football Game, the Crimson Tide signed a uniform contract with NIKE paying Alabama $30 million through the 2017-18 season to dress every Crimson tide team. It tops the college sports world. NCAA gets some of that as well.

Billions of dollars are being made by the NCAA which is a legitimate, money-making business for amateur athletic competition.

The student/athlete’s fortunate enough to get a scholarship to one of the fine universities under the NCAA umbrella get, for the most part, a free education, room and board and a stipend for three meals. That’s the “salary” awarded kids for playing sports at the collegiate level.

But if one of these student/athletes with a scholarship wants to go to a movie but can’t afford the $50 for two tickets, popcorn and sodas, he/she can’t get a job to earn the money or even accept the money from a parent because it could, somehow, violate the student/athlete’s amateur status because the parent is, by definition, the kid’s “representative.”

But the student/athlete better wear that uniform with the NIKE Swoosh on it so the NCAA can make its $$$. A good example of this are Boise State and Virginia Tech wearing “NIKE Combat Alternative Uniforms” for their opener a few weeks back in Washington D.C. Eight other teams will be wearing such uniforms during the season.

The student/athlete better agree to let his/her likeness be used by the school and the NCAA to lure fans and possible sponsors to spend their $$$.

That’s where the duplicity, regarding these issues, lie in the NCAA.

It’s not as if “Bush/Mayo Situations” haven’t happened before. This time, they just happened to get caught because Garrett and Carroll were negligent in monitoring who would show up to practices and who was given a sideline/field pass for games.

And this won’t be the last time these things happen at schools under the NCAA Umbrella.

*Is it just me, or should USC stay away from any athlete whose name is O.J.?

3 thoughts on “USC’s Bushed, Then Whacked by the NCAA

Add yours

  1. That is why I lean to high school athletics for my source of entertainment. They epitomize the last vestige of purity in organized sports. The kids are busting their butts for their high school, community and family, not for a Lincoln Continental or money for their cash-strapped family.

    1. Hey Hal! I hear you. Don’t kid yourself though. May not be the case in Idaho, but high school sports in places like California, Texas and Florida have to deal with people promising things to kids and their parents, be it money or gifts, because of some of these kids future earning potential.

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