Yahoo Sports is reporting today that former USC running back Reggie Bush will be stripped of his 2005 Heisman Trophy by the end of the month. The report comes from Charles Robinson and Jason Cole, who first broke the story nearly four years ago that Bush had accepted improper benefits from an agent during his time at USC. The school has already been docked 30 scholarships and received a two-year bowl ban because of violations stemming from the incident. If the Yahoo report is correct, Bush would be the first player in the honor's 75-year history to be stripped of the award, given annually by the Heisman Trophy Trust to the most "outstanding college football player in the United States." Around the Internet, voices weighed in on what a rescinded Heisman would mean for Bush and the sport as a whole.
An Easy Fix...Right? Yahoo's Dan Wetzel writes that merely "vacating" Bush's win will leave a bad taste in the public's mouth. If the Heisman Trophy Trust is really dedicated to turning the page on Bush, they should retroactively give the award to University of Texas quarterback Vince Young, the runner-up for 2005. For "the biggest beauty pageant in sports," such a move would at least create the illusion of fairness. Without Young--or somebody--benefiting from the decision, stripping Bush of his Heisman starts to look pointless. Without a bold attempt to right an injustice, argues Wetzel, "memories, if not highlights" of Bush's 2005 performance will live on the annals of college football.
- Slippery Slope Taking away Bush's Heisman would set a dangerous precedent, contends Sports Grid's Tyler Reisinger. The game's record books shouldn't be opened and altered on a whim. Writes Reisinger:
The Heisman Trophy Trust is essentially changing history, and there is no way to tell where it stops. What if it’s revealed that Barry Sanders received a sweetheart deal on a car while at Oklahoma State? The committee set a standard with Bush, and will have to apply that standard to all of the former winners should issues arise.
- End Game Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio argues Bush could have spared himself and USC this entire ordeal by being honest with NCAA investigators from the start. Florio acknowledges that while it "took way too long" for the Heisman Trophy Trust to decide what to do with Bush (about to enter his fifth season with the NFL's New Orleans Saints), the delay is attributable to "the powers-that-be [wanting] to give Bush every opportunity to do the right thing and give the trophy back without being asked to do so." When he didn't, believes Florio, their hand was forced.