As New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush enters his fifth season in the NFL, the controversy over his involvement with an agent during college continues to haunt him.
An NCAA infractions committee has already determined that Bush committed violations by taking money from an agent. The NCAA punished the University of Southern California for allowing it to happen and not providing the proper oversight. The school had to vacate nearly three-seasons worth of wins and now the matter is getting more personal for Heisman Trophy recipient Bush.
Among the internal USC casualties is Mike Garrett, one of the legendary Black stars at USC. The former Heisman Trophy winner, who went on to a stellar NFL career, was the USC athletic director. A successful fundraiser for USC, Garrett was forced to step down after shouldering much of the blame for the inadequate oversight of the athletic program that gave rise to the Bush debacle.
The Heisman Trophy Trust, the group responsible for issuing the trophy to the top college football player in the country each year, is considering stripping Bush of his prestigious trophy.
“The Trust will be considering the issues raised in the USC/Reggie Bush matter, and after reaching a decision will publish it, but due to the complex issues involved and the Trust’s desire to reach an appropriate decision, no definitive timetable has been established,” the trust said in a statement to ESPN. “Until the matter has been fully considered and a decision is reached, the Trust has no further comment.”
USC’s former head football coach Pete Carroll, now the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, acknowledged that Bush may have done something wrong, but that there was no way for him to know.
“The people who were involved in this didn’t want us to know,” Carroll told HBO’s “Real Sports.” ”They were trying to conceal the information. They did a good enough job to where we didn’t know.
In the meantime, USC’s new athletic director Pat Haden has stated that the school will distance itself from Bush as much as possible. It has already returned it’s replica of the Heisman to the Trust and taken down anything reminding people of Bush or O.J. Mayo, former USC basketball star implicated in a similar scandal.
“We’re going to do better,” Haden, former USC quarterback and Notre Dame football color commentator, to the AP. “We have to do better. We don’t have any choices here. We stub our toe, there’s going to be some problems.”
Haden replaces the outgoing Garrett.