The USC Trojans are no longer the 2004 BCS National Champions. In a ruling that came down Monday, the BCS has officially stripped the school of its 2005 Orange Bowl win and their appearance in the 2006 Rose Bowl, which they lost to Texas. If you ask me, it’s a pathetic attempt at justice from the NCAA.
I’ve said numerous times that Reggie Bush was the greatest college football player of all time. His games against Fresno State(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwS5x920i8A
) and Notre Dame (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weu3ShNvyvE)
during the 2005 season electrified viewers all around the country. Bush was college football’s dream player; the most exciting player in the country in the second largest media market. Bush drew the eye of casual fans, and even non-fans, creating a television ratings bonanza with the dynastic Trojans of the mid-2000s. The NCAA reaped the benefits of millions, maybe billions, of dollars on the hides of Bush and his teammates.
In procedure that’s become routine practice, the NCAA waited a few years, counted their money, and then decided to do something about Bush receiving improper benefits. They came down with an iron fist. The governing body stripped USC of scholarships, enforced a two year ban on bowl games, and put the program on probation. The Heisman committee revoked Bush’s Heisman Trophy and now the BCS ruling.
No one will forget the run that USC went on during the Bush/Leinart years. Neither rulings nor sanctions will ever take away the memories of watching the 2006 Rose Bowl, one of the greatest games of all time. And rest assured, the NCAA will never give back all of the cash raked in from USC’s success during that time.
That’s what I have the biggest problem with. The NCAA turns a blind eye to the smoke when it’s convenient for them. They let the Ohio State players play in the Sugar Bowl this past season, because if they didn’t, ratings would plummet. They let Cam Newton’s alleged indiscretions slide in order for him to, like Bush, win the Heisman and the BCS National Championship. Then, once they finish counting the cash, the NCAA decides to put out the fire. They did it with Ohio State, and they’ll probably do it to Auburn in a couple years.
The NCAA needs to stop its hypocritical ways of raking in money, then punishing violators, and the programs they played for, years later. Cracking down on players and coaches that never played with Reggie Bush isn’t fair to anyone and doesn’t take away the memories of him dominating college football. Want to send a real message? Take a proactive approach to investigations. Stop the players in their tracks while they’re active members of college football, seek out the boosters and leeches that prey on teenagers and rid college football of coaches that allow violations to happen. Put the paper rake down and do what’s right at the right time, not years later.
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