The recent Reggie Bush scandal had a nearly unparalleled impact on college football and the University of Southern California Trojans in particular. Surfacing nearly four years after Bush and the Trojans practically dominated the 2004 and 2005 NCAA football seasons, the scandal’s effects rocked Bush’s alma mater and personal reputation. As is so often the story in the high-stakes world of modern college football, it was found that Bush’s fantastic on-field skills were rewarded inappropriately by the NCAA’s standards. Here’s the whole story behind Reggie Bush’s not-so-little scandal.
Time with the Trojans. Bush played as a running back for the USC Trojans during the three seasons between 2003 and 2005. Since the time of his recruitment, Bush was a highly coveted player. He was known for an extremely versatile skill set, being able to catch, receive and return the ball with amazing talent. Led by Bush and quarterback Matt Leinart, the Trojans won the NCAA National Championship in 2004 and made it to the game again in 2005. His crowning achievement, however, was being awarded the Heisman Trophy in 2005. After winning the Heisman, Bush immediately declared for the NFL Draft and was picked by the New Orleans Saints.
Misconduct Surfacing. Being a legitimate star under strict rules of an NCAA setting is a difficult position, as evinced by the accusations that surfaced against Bush prior to the 2006 NFL Draft. Apparently, he had been involved with a sports marketer who bestowed lavish gifts upon Bush and his family. This included housing and limousine rides for the budding star. The reason these details surfaced, of course, was that the agent himself sued Bush for not paying him back for the gifts. The civil case against Bush was settled out of court in early 2010, but the NCAA’s investigation into Bush and USC athletics continued.
The Aftermath. In June of 2010, the NCAA announced that it had come to a decision regarding the Reggie Bush scandal. Though USC had no direct hand in gift-giving, its lack of oversight cost the athletics program severely. Previous post-season wins during Bush’s tenure were negated. The school was forced to act as if Bush had never existed, including the removal of jerseys and monuments. The football program was banned from post-season bowl games for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. And, perhaps most importantly, 30 athletic scholarships were taken away from USC over a period of three years, proving to be crippling for the football program. Bush himself, meanwhile, was essentially forced to give up his coveted Heisman Trophy in fall 2010. And though his personal reputation remains mostly intact, the Reggie Bush scandal’s impact on his alma mater continues to be downright detrimental.