Reggie Bush hasn’t played for the Trojans since 2005, but the fallout from his off-the-field antics has dealt USC yet another blow.
The BCS announced today the Trojan football team will be stripped of the BCS title it earned at the conclusion of the 2004-2005 football season.
USC Athletic Director Pat Haden released the following statement in response to the upsetting yet predictable decision:
"The BCS alerted us today that their presidents have voted to vacate USC’s 2005 BCS Championship Game victory. This was not an unexpected outcome. We will comply with all requirements mandated by the result of this BCS vote.”
Last summer, the NCAA hit USC with a number of sanctions, including a two-year postseason ban, the loss of 30 scholarships over three seasons, and four years probation. These penalties arose after a multi-year NCAA investigation determined that Bush, the former Trojan running back, received as much as $280,000 in improper benefits from a sports marketing firm known as New Era Sports & Entertainment during his tenure at USC.
USC was cited for a lack of institutional control and was forced to vacate all wins from Dec. 2004 through the 2005 season. Bush later gave back his 2005 Heisman Trophy.
BCS executive director Bill Hancock also released a statement today to help justify the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee’s decision.
“The BCS arrangement crowns a national champion, and the BCS games are showcase events for postseason football,” he said. “One of the best ways of ensuring that they remain so is for us to foster full compliance with NCAA rules. Accordingly, in keeping with the NCAA’s recent action, USC’s appearances are being vacated.”
USC filed an appeal to have the penalties reduced in a Jan.25 hearing, asking for the ban to be reduced to one year and the number of lost scholarships to be cut in half. The NCAA formally upheld its original rulings on May 26.
Matt Leinart, quarterback of the Trojans from 2003 to 2005, said on ESPN’s SportsCenter that “In reality, I don’t think anyone can take the (2004) Championship away from us.”
USC clobbered Oklahoma 55-19 in the 2005 Orange Bowl to earn the national title. There will now be no BCS national champion listed in the record books for the 2004-2005 season. USC will to keep its 2004 AP national championship title.