My alma mater, the University of Oklahoma, should ascend to the 2004 National Football championship, even though they were beaten in the BCS championship game by the University of Southern California. That team is being forced to forfeit all of their games played by star running back Reggie Bush, due to the valuable benefits that his coaches lavished on him.
The NCAA threw the book at storied Southern California yesterday with a 2-year bowl ban, 4 years’ probation, loss of scholarships and forfeits of an entire year’s games for improper benefits to Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush dating to the Trojans’ 2004 national championship.
USC was penalized for a lack of institutional control in the ruling by the NCAA following its 4-year investigation. The report cited numerous improper benefits for Bush and former basketball player O.J. Mayo, who spent just 1 year with the Trojans.
The coaches who presided over the alleged misdeeds – football's Pete Carroll and basketball’s Tim Floyd – left USC in the past year.
“I’m absolutely shocked and disappointed in the findings of the NCAA,” Carroll said in a video statement produced by the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, who hired him in January. “I never thought it would come to this . . . I’m extremely disappointed that we have to deal with this right now.”
The penalties include the loss of 30 football scholarships over 3 years and vacating 14 victories in which Bush played from December 2004 through the 2005 season. USC beat Oklahoma in the BCS title game on Jan. 4, 2005, and won 12 games during Bush’s Heisman-winning 2005 season, which ended with a loss to Texas in the 2006 BCS title game.
Bill Hancock, the executive director of the BCS, said a committee will meet to consider vacating USC’s 2004 championship. While no action would go into effect until USC’s appeals are heard by the NCAA, Hancock said there would be no 2004 champion if USC’s victory is vacated.
The NCAA says Bush received lavish gifts from two fledgling sports marketers hoping to sign him. The men paid for everything from hotel stays and a rent-free home where Bush’s family apparently lived to a limousine and a new suit when he accepted his Heisman in New York in December 2005.
The rulings are a sharp repudiation of the Trojans’ decade of stunning football success under Carroll, who won seven straight Pac-10 titles and two national championships before abruptly returning to the NFL. Floyd resigned last June, shortly after he was accused of giving cash to a middleman who helped steer Mayo to USC.
Wait a minute: The Trojans might not be stripped of their championship? How can a team win the national title while losing all of their games? The BCS might declare that there was no champion for 2004? How can that be? In the final BCS rankings, OU was #2. If #1 is removed from the picture, everyone moves up.
In all seriousness, I dislike the penalty of forfeiting games that were already played. If a team violates the rules, punish them now, but don’t try to change history.