USC stripped of 2004 BCS title
The NCAA sanctioned USC last year after ruling that Reggie Bush violated rules by accepting gifts while he was a USC player.
June 6th, 2011
07:21 PM ET

USC stripped of 2004 BCS title

The group that crowns college football's national champion stripped the 2004-05 title from the University of Southern California on Monday, a decision stemming from an NCAA investigation of former USC running back Reggie Bush.

No 2004 champion will be named in USC's place, the Bowl Championship Series said.

The BCS's decision was a distinct possibility since last year, when the NCAA vacated USC's last two victories of the 2004 season and all of the Trojans' wins in 2005 after ruling that Bush violated rules by accepting gifts while at USC.

The group said it made its decision after the NCAA denied USC's appeal of sanctions last month.

"This action reflects the scope of the BCS arrangement and is consistent with the NCAA's approach when it subsequently discovers infractions by institutions whose teams have played in the NCAA championship events," BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said in a news release.

The BCS also stripped USC of the January 2005 Orange Bowl victory that clinched the 2004 title, and vacated USC's appearance in the 2006 Rose Bowl, which it lost to Texas.

"This was not an unexpected outcome," USC athletic director Pat Haden said, according to USC's athletics site.  "We will comply with all requirements mandated by the result of this BCS vote."

The NCAA ruled last year that Bush lost his eligibility to play college football in December 2004, saying that he and his family accepted gifts from two would-be sports agents.

The agents, hoping to represent Bush in the NFL draft, allegedly paid for hotel rooms, rent on a home where Bush’s family lived and a limousine ride that Bush took to accept the 2005 Heisman Trophy. Such payments and gifts are not allowed under NCAA rules.

Bush played for USC from 2003 through January 2006. He left school as a junior, and the New Orleans Saints drafted him in the 2006 NFL draft.

Besides vacating victories, the NCAA last year put USC on four years of probation, banned it from bowl games in the 2010 and 2011 seasons, and ruled that USC cannot associate itself with Bush.

Bush forfeited his 2005 Heisman Trophy last September, a few months after the NCAA sanctioned USC.

The decision to not crown a 2004 champion may disappoint Auburn, Oklahoma and Utah fans. Auburn, like USC, finished the season 13-0, and was ranked No. 2 in that season’s final, post-bowl Associated Press poll.

Oklahoma lost to USC in the Orange Bowl, 55–19, and finished third in the AP poll. Utah finished the year 12-0 and was ranked fourth by the AP.

The Associated Press last year decided not to alter its 2004-05 rankings, meaning USC remains atop that year's final poll.

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soundoff (129 Responses)
  1. steve deveraux

    This is exactly what is wrong with (some) college sports today. "Think of all those young men out there that have dreamed of going to USC and playing football."

    Why aren't these young ment "dreaming of going to USC and getting a college degree"? Out of the 85-100+ players on a typical D1 football roster, there are probably less than 10 that are ever drafted, much less play in the NFL. So what happens to the rest?

    These young men should be using their football scholarship as a tool to get a paid education. If the NFL drafts them, that's fine. But they should never put themselves in a position where if the NFL doesn't draft them, they will end up on the street. The coaches are using them to get big salaries, the "student-athletes" should get smart and using the programs to get an education.

    BTW, this should be the case for the rest of the "high-paying" sports.

    June 6, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • ArizonaYankee

      You are so correct, but the problem is how do you get an education when you can't spell your own name. Most of these guy should not be in college period. They are unqualified and take a spot that a qualified kid is denied. I am sick of just about all college sports for this reason. Want to play college football and get an education, if you are qualified, then go play for JoePa, he greaduates almost 90 percent of his players.

      June 7, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
    • ArizonaYankee

      You are so correct, but the problem is how do you get an education when you can't spell your own name. Most of these guy should not be in college period. They are unqualified and take a spot that a qualified kid is denied. I am sick of just about all college sports for this reason. Want to play college football and get an education, if you are qualified, then go play for JoePa, he graduates almost 90 percent of his players.

      June 7, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. Chiniquy

    All that Bush did was accept gifts for himself and his family.

    He didn't take drugs to make him stronger or to run faster. Nothing was done to enhance his performance on the field. No other player as far as I know has been guilty of similar infractions.

    To punish the team and USC is idiotic.

    June 7, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
    • One for fairplay

      I guess you never heard of gambling and the concept of amature sports. first , there is the concept of"paying" by giving gifts to an amature athlete. There is always rumours of abuse at other schools or just in general but 99.99% of the schools arfe playing by the rules. Also once a player or coach startys accepting"gifts",that can be followed up by the "request" to throw an important game for gambling purposes. if you don't strip the team and player of the awards, it would punish those who play by the rules and never get a chance at a bowl bid.

      June 7, 2011 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      I agree – the NCAA are ridiculous. "We can change history..." blah, blah, blah. The fact is USC won those games, and they didn't cheat to do it. Reggie Bush broke rules OUTSIDE of the arena. Strip Bush of the Heisman? Was he not the best player that year because he accepted gifts? Did those gifts affect his decision to attend USC? No, he was already enrolled and playing. Did they influence him to stay in school? Doubtful, he was probably influenced to leave early.

      The school, and the other players, did not do this. Reggie and his family did. Apparently, though, he didn't care enough about what happened to him, so they were forced to do more damage until someone cared. Congrats.

      June 7, 2011 at 5:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. McLuhan

    But no one feels GUILTY about the Millions they make off of the players performance and the millions in bowl games that supposedly go to "charity" that is really charity for a select few who won't allow a proper playoff. WHO CARES IF THEY STRIP A SCHOOL OF A FAKE, CONTRIVED CHAMPIONSHIP! The NCAA has allowed DIV I football to be a money maker for the bowl committees and that's all that really matters! Shame on the NCAA for acting like they have morality! Its all BS not BCS!!!

    June 7, 2011 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  4. susan

    The NCAA has lost sight of its role and the real ethical issues in college athletics. One player took gifts, yet the NCAA takes away the achievement of an entire team on the field. There is no logic there. The NCAA has punished all the players, and other USC studentes who were proud of their school, for the sins of one. That is just wrong. What is the NCAA's responsibility to those other young men who worked hard and followed the NCAA rules? Also, how does USC benefit from the player taking gifts from NFL representatives and agents trying to sign him for his professional career? The NCAA should be punishing schools when THEY bribe players to come to play for them. This punishment does not fit the crime.

    June 7, 2011 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Sunflower

      Very well said Susan- my point exactly!

      June 7, 2011 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
    • nyhoukcdal

      Susan, several points. 1) The NCAA did not reach any conclusions about other players. You're only assuming that every other player was within the rules. What if more than just Bush were accepting money/gifts/etc? How many have to be bad apples before you deem the program to be the problem? 2) If don't want to punish the school/program for one rogue player, how should punish the player instead? The Bush investigation took years. He was in the NFL when sanctions were handed down. The NCAA couldn't ban him from any future games, or void his scholarship, or do anything else within its purview. He beat the system and is untouchable (to the NCAA). Yes, the Heisman organization was about to strip him of his award before he voluntarily turned it in, but again, 5 years after the fact. Besides losing the right to vote every year for future Heisman candidates, what has he lost? Not much. 3) If you'll recall, when USC won games, Bush was on the field. If you retroactively deem him to have been ineligible for rules violations, how can you not void the team's achievements? After all, you cannot separate Bush's success on the field from USC's success. If he wasn't playing, would they have won all those games? No one knows, and that's the point. 4) Do you really think that none of his teammates (or coaches) suspected something wasn't quite right about his cash flow, access to nice cars, pricey jewelry, etc? If someone had turned him in during his years at USC, then I'd feel differently about the program's achievements being preserved. But they all collectively turned a blind eye. And so the punishment affects all of them, collectively.

      June 7, 2011 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. Pacoatemiami

    The schools, the BCS bowls, and the NCAA are making money hand over foot by exploiting top atheletes like Reggie Bush. Then they get upset when these celebrities receive gifts from private individuals? It is hipocritical and ridiculous.

    June 7, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
    • nyhoukcdal

      Nobody forced him to play. He could have gone to a D3 school and played for fun, away from the cameras and scouts. Didn't though, did he? Wanted the limelight, wanted the potential pro career (which he achieved, to his credit). So what's the beef exactly? He used USC to get to the NFL. USC/BCS/NCAA used him to sell tickets, merchandise, TV time, etc. Mutual benefits all around. Exploitation? Not really.

      June 7, 2011 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. Brian

    Got what they deserved... they gave him a house for crying out loud. Cam Newton should be next, OSU should get off easy since they weren't paid by the school or anyone associated

    June 7, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Maybe you weren't following the story regarding Bush. Bush's parents accepted money for a house from an agent who hoped to sign Bush after he graduated. Bush got nothing from USC. USC (actually the players who did nothing were punished) was punished because the NCAA believed that a coach should have known that an agent was paying off Bush's parents, even though they lived a hundred miles away.

      June 7, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
    • JOregon

      There was a good reason Pete left USC, and it wasn't the Pro's.

      June 7, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
    • nyhoukcdal

      @Bob, the point is that during the time he represented his school and his program, he broke the rules he agreed to abide by as a precondition for playing. If he'd been injured all season long, then I'll concede that USC should have been spared this level of sanction. But USC used a player that ultimately was deemed ineligible due to rules violations.

      June 7, 2011 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  7. jockO

    the NCAA and BCS are hypocrites. NCAA D1 football is a billion $ business. The athlete is a commodity. There needs to be new NCAA commish with the wisdom to enact real justice.

    June 7, 2011 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  8. conch

    The NCAA has a vendetta – SC is apparently the model of "how they don't want to do things".
    So screw the kids who did NOTHING but play their hearts out?

    Yeah, Right . Business as Usual.

    Just ask Galen Hall.

    June 7, 2011 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. jesse

    Such a croc. Why don't players get anything for their hard work? You call the joke of a scholarship a reward for them. More work so that they can work on sports? Really? It's simply because the NCAA is greedy.

    June 7, 2011 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  10. MJ Connor

    Screw Reggie Bush. Rat He isn't squat in the NFL. Way over paid. Greedy little B__tard. He's a turd.

    June 7, 2011 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. Weagle1

    See, just another reason why it was wrong to not send Auburn to the Nat'l Championship that year. But this is politics as usual...nothing else. Sucks for the others on that CHAMPIONSHIP team.

    June 7, 2011 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. Trish

    Hey Guys, will you visit HelpFaye.ORG .... a friend of mine is fighting for her life.... Thanks

    June 7, 2011 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
  13. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Let the best ones accept gifts. That's the way life works, so teach it in college and call it "Reality 101-103."
    This is not the God and Country Award, or church. It's the entertainment industry. Get serious.
    "Introduction to School Athletics 101-103" would be a bunch of skinny kids trying to do ten sit-ups or curl a 5-lb. dumbbell.
    Nobody wants to watch that.
    This is Show Biz.

    June 7, 2011 at 5:19 am | Report abuse |
  14. han

    So disagree with this. So what if he took those gifts? The ncaa found out too late and they messed up, all of you who say "well the school knew so, they have to pay for it" obviously never won a championship. The team worked hard and beat the other schools fair and square. No drugs or nothing. I don't like USC at all but the Bcs shouldn't take a championship from a team who put the effort into getting it. This committee is simply bitter that one guy got caught yrs after he finished and they can't touch him.

    June 7, 2011 at 5:27 am | Report abuse |
  15. han

    And by the way I bet you anything that those Bcs phonies have taken gifts from sponsors for commercials or extra exposure, but God forbid a kid takes a limo ride to his Heisman trophy ceremony for his work on the field.

    June 7, 2011 at 5:32 am | Report abuse |
    • HR

      If they actually did the right thing and compensated these kids fdor what they contribute to the programs they would all be millionaires out of college. The taking of gifts, however defined did not affect his play or the play of the other team. I am a huge Penn State Fan, and not so much a fan of USC, but they do not desserve this and its really about time that the NCAA look at giving these kids a piece of the pie that they risk every weekend. Many of these programs make 8 and 9 digit profits from football every year. Coaches make between 1M and 5M, why not the kids?

      June 7, 2011 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Don't forget the hotel room. I'm sure that changed the outcome of a few games. 🙂 I think this is all pretty extreme but the NCAA has to enforce rules or this can get out of hand quick. Think about what would happen if the NCAA allowed NFL teams, boosters and agents to start courting these kids in college. I can see how that could snowball into problems pretty quick.

      June 7, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
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