The University of South California will return Reggie Bush's 2005 Heisman Trophy, according to a memo by the university's president-elect C.L. Max Nikias. The announcement comes on the same day Nikias hired Pat Haden to clean up the school's athletic department. Is USC finally getting serious about cleaning up its program?
The Memo Nikias called out Bush and O.J. Mayo, the two players at the center of the NCAA's investigation into the school:
The Trojan family honors and respects the USC sporting careers of those persons whose actions did not compromise their athletic program or the opportunities of future USC student-athletes. Accordingly, I have instructed the senior vice president for administration to remove athletic jerseys and murals displayed in recognition of O.J. Mayo and Reggie Bush by mid-August -- before the incoming class of students moves on campus -- from Heritage Hall, the Galen Center and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The university also will return Mr. Bush's 2005 Heisman Trophy to the Heisman Trophy Trust in August.
A Slap On the Wrist Despite the embarrassment of losing the most prestigious award in college athletics, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio thinks things turned out pretty well for Bush, all things considered. "Though clearly in the wrong," Florio writes, "Bush has emerged from the controversy sparked by his own conduct largely unscathed."
Like A Death? That's what Bush likened the investigation to in an interview with Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
"For the people who say ... well I've heard people say that I don't really care about this too much and I just brush it off my shoulders. Those people don't know me. Because this thing regarding USC and the NCAA is to me the closest thing to death without dying."
The Inevitable Comparison The last USC running back to lose his Heisman? O.J. Simpson. It's a fact Deadspin's A.J. Daulerio helpfully pointed out via the soon-to-be-immortal headline "Reggie Bush Has Heisman Taken Away From Him Even Though He Didn't Kill His Wife And A Waiter."
Too Little, Too Late Sports Illustrated's Joe Posnanski summed up the whole turn of events in one tweet Tuesday afternoon. "Pat Haden in as AD. Reggie Bush Heisman returned like broken Christmas present. And Pete Carroll sad with $33 mil in Seattle."
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