Reports have been filtering in that the Heisman Trophy Trust is going to strip Reggie Bush of his Heisman trophy due to the ill-gotten gains Bush and his family received during his USC career.
I don’t particularly like Reggie Bush, and I’m loath to make him a martyr for a cause, but the people who run college football are a band of villains and they’re running roughshod over both logic and righteousness.
Reggie Bush took money while at USC. Of course he did. You know who else did? Every big-time college football player at a major program, or close to it. Or if they don’t take money, they get free stuff. If they don’t get free stuff, they get illegal tutoring sessions. It’s gone on since time began. College football programs exist to make their schools money, and the way to make money is to get the best players. The way to get the best players is to give them free shit.
And it’s not easy to get caught. You have to be an idiot. So, everyone’s cheating. Agreed?
Given that fact, the punitive system the NCAA is an outrage. The people truly responsible for the programs, the head coaches, are allowed to walk away scot-free to other, lucrative jobs. John Calipari and Pete Carroll don’t give a good god damn what happens at Memphis or USC after they’re gone.
And I think we can all agree that “vacating” wins and championships is a nonsensical idea. Those victories happened. Hitting the delete key a few times doesn’t mean that Oregon St. actually beat USC in 2005. The Allies can’t retroactively lose World War II because the U.S. committed a few war crimes.
So what’s left? Put schools on probation and ban them from post-season, which typically punishes players and coaches (not to mention fans) who weren’t even involved with the alleged misdeeds in the first place. And now, we’re punishing a player who’s long since left college football.
The Heisman Trophy Trust is not the same governing body as the NCAA, but it might as well be. It’s run by the same sort of cigar-smoking, backroom-dealing American nobility. From the Trust’s mission statement:
The Trustees, who all serve pro bono, are guided by a devotion to college football and are committed to community service and the valued tradition which the Trophy represents.
And so Reggie Bush is being scapegoated for the sins of a system he didn’t invent. Apparently, he didn’t really score those touchdowns or gain those yards — because he was able to buy his family a car?
The powers that be in college football are making all the wrong moves, lashing out at the people least culpable for the problems in their sport.
In an ideal world, college athletes would be paid over the table, so no part of this sham would be necessary. Even in our world, though, there’s a better solution than randomly doling out “punishments” years after the fact: punish those responsible (i.e. Pete Carroll is banned from coaching in the NCAA) or punish no one at all.
It’s been a tough year for Reggie. I’m sure he’s still devastated by his breakup with Kim Kardashian. He’s had to watch while Lamar Odom usurped his Kardashian-dating fame. And now this. Won’t someone please step in and defend this poor, defenseless talented multimillionaire?