Last week, Reggie bush spoke very non-chalantly about possible sanctions against the USC football program due to violations during Bush’s time at the school.
“Whatever happens, happens,” Bush told reporters last week when asked his thoughts about USC. “What I’m really focused on is where I’m at right now, where I’m at with the Saints’ team right now, and so just really looking toward the future.”
After the NCAA released its ruling on the matter earlier Thursday, Bush was singing to a different tune.
“I have a great love for the University of Southern California and I very much regret the turn that this matter has taken, not only for USC, but for the fans and players,” Bush said in a statement released Thursday.” I am disappointed by today’s decision and disagree with the NCAA’s findings. If the University decides to appeal, I will continue to cooperate with the NCAA and USC, as I did during the investigation.”
The NCAA says Bush received lavish gifts from two fledgling sports marketers hoping to sign him once he left college for the NFL. These men paid for everything from hotel stays and rent-free housing for Bush’s family to a limousine and a new suit for his Heisman Trophy Ceremony in December 2005.
The NCAA found that Bush should have been declared ineligible beginning at least by December 2004, which could open discussions on vacating not only Bush’s 2005 Heisman Trophy, but also USC’s 2004 National Championship. In addition, USC’s football team will lose ten scholarships a year for the next couple of years and face other possible sanctions.
The NCAA also suggested that USC “disassociate” itself from Reggie Bush.
What the NCAA hopes to accomplish remains to be seen. Does the punishment fit the crime? Maybe too much.
Even though USC and Bush may lose honors, you can not undo what has already been done. USC was clearly the best team that season. Reggie had one of the greatest seasons by a running back in NCAA history. That is what we’ll remember about those seasons.
The NCAA made its ruling. All we can do now is look forward. If we learned anything last week from Armando Galaragga, the Detroit Tigers pitcher who lost a perfect game to a questionable call, opportunities like this gives a player to bring out his true character. Instead of pouting about the missed call, Galaragga understood it was a human error and showed no ill-will or feelings towards the umpire.
What does Reggie do now? Will he admit his wrongdoings and make up for them? Perhaps that may be Reggie’s lasting legacy at USC.