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TallySaint 09-15-2006 06:39 AM

Take Back the Title (Yahoo Sports)
Take back the title

USC should forfeit the 2004 national crown after reports that Reggie Bush and his family appear to have accepted financial benefits from prospective agents.

By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports

September 14, 2006

LOS ANGELES – The would-be agents who provided the house, the money for the tricked-out car, the luxury hotel rooms and the tens of thousands in cash used to roll right into the Southern California locker room after the game, right past security, to meet and greet the triumphant Trojans.

The marketing agent who provided the cash allowance, the plane flights, the limo rides and the designer suits used to hang around Trojan practices, filed paperwork with the athletic department and walked the sidelines of the Los Angeles Coliseum like he was Pete Carroll himself.

It is no surprise that Reggie Bush and his family cashed in on his future earnings during his Heisman Trophy career at USC, as so many allege. Finding eager agents willing to pay for an edge on representing him was easy; they were all over the place at the loose ship known as Trojan Football.

At practice. At games. In the locker room. At the football program's Heritage Hall. Even with permission of the athletic department's compliance office.

And so Bush and his parents, starting in October 2004 according to an eight-month Yahoo! Sports investigation, took and took and took.

And now the NCAA needs to take something, too – Bush's retroactive eligibility and a season and a half of USC victories, setting in motion the BCS' removal of the Trojans' 2004 national championship and the Downtown Athletic Club's repossession of Bush's 2005 Heisman Trophy.

Anything less, any bit of situational justice, would be a slap in the face of fair play and another in the NCAA's long history of double-standard enforcement.

Bush, by NCAA standards, was a professional athlete for most of his final two seasons, and USC either knew it or sure as heck should have. At the very least, operating an open-gate culture where athletes and agents were allowed to mix and mingle in the inner sanctums of the program was akin to playing with fire.

And in this case the Trojans got burned.

No one is saying Bush and USC were the only ones on the take. No one is saying the NCAA's amateurism rules are good ideas. Those are debates for another day.

But if the NCAA is going to ride the public relations campaign that its student-athletes are pure then it needs to enforce its rules purely.

Even – or especially – if it means stripping a Division I-A football team of its national title for the first time in history.

Story continues...

saintswhodi 09-15-2006 10:33 AM

Soooooo, would the title go to Auburn since they were the other team to finish the year undefeated, or would it go to OU who got destroyed in that game?

gandhi1007 09-15-2006 12:03 PM

It should go to Auburn. They should have been there anyway, instead of an overrated Sooners team who just so happened to have been beaten by another SEC team the year before for the title. Like Lee Corso said the other night: "any team that runs the gauntlet in the SEC should be playing in the BCS championship game, regardless." Unfortunately, that's easier said than done.

saintswhodi 09-15-2006 12:19 PM

But, if they take away USC's victories for that season, that means the victory over OU, which would also give them an undefeated season. They'd prob have to split the title between Auburn and OU, since they can't replay that game. You know and I know Auburn would have crushed OU too, but it's these same people that kept Auburn out of the title game whow ill be making the decision.

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