Report: USC to keep AP title

USC likely will lose its 2004 BCS championship, but its Associated Press title appears safe.

"The 2004 poll stands," AP sports editor Terry Taylor confirmed in an e-mail Friday to the Los Angeles Times. "The poll is intended to measure on-field performance. If teams are allowed to play, they're allowed to be ranked and USC certainly played in 2004."

USC beat Oklahoma in the BCS title game on Jan. 4, 2005.

The BCS likely will force USC to vacate its national championship. BCS executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement Thursday that the presidential oversight committee will meet soon to discuss whether USC will be stripped of its title.

If that happens, there will be no BCS champion for the 2004-05 season. Hancock said no action would be taken by the BCS until USC's appeal is heard.

USC was penalized for a lack of institutional control in the ruling by the NCAA following its four-year investigation. The report cited numerous improper benefits for Reggie Bush and former basketball player O.J. Mayo, who spent just one year with the Trojans.

The penalties include the loss of 30 football scholarships over three years and vacating 14 victories in which Bush played from December 2004 through the 2005 season.

AP voted USC No. 1 after the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Taylor said naming a different champ would be too difficult.

"It would be impractical to," she said, according to the Times. "It's been six years. Memories have faded and the poll board from that year is no longer intact."