The University of Southern California generally is out of the jurisdiction of the NFC South Blog, but we’re going to bend (not break, just in case the NCAA is watching) the rules slightly today.
That’s because the NCAA has come down hard on USC and former Trojans running back Reggie Bush. He’s now a member of the New Orleans Saints and that is NFC South territory. There still is talk Bush could be stripped of his Heisman Trophy and Ivan Maisel, one of our college football gurus has a great column on that.
I’m in total agreement with Maisel, who said it would be foolish to take the Heisman Trophy away from Bush. The NCAA also has said USC should disassociate itself from Bush.
Let’s be realistic, and honest, here. Bush was still a kid when the violations supposedly occurred. Blame the people who were running USC’s program at the time, blame Bush’s parents or blame the agents he got tied up with.
Blame Bush, too, but let’s keep it in perspective. Bush isn’t the first, or last, college kid to do something wrong. Not every college coach is Joe Paterno.
The world’s not perfect and if USC should disassociate itself from any former running back or the Heisman folks should confiscate any trophies, the name O.J. Simpson sort of pops to mind before Bush. Heck, I covered Heisman winner Chris Weinke, who never has been accused of doing anything wrong, and can honestly tell you the guy wasn't exactly a bundle of joy to be around. No one's looking to take his Heisman.
I don’t claim to know Bush exceptionally well, but I’ve interviewed him a number of times. From those experiences, he comes across as a nice enough guy. He’s done a lot of charity work in New Orleans since joining the Saints.
He won the Heisman Trophy for being the best player in college football because he was. Were rules broken and mistakes made? Sure sounds like it. Let the NCAA punish USC. Bush is getting enough punishment with all the publicity over this whole thing. By all indications, he’s moved on with his life in a positive way.
The Heisman folks just need to move on, too.