Sorting Out The Heisman Mess
It’s been about a week since Reggie Bush gave up his Heisman Trophy. Is this mess finally over? Anything else people want to pressure him into doing?
There’s no denying what Bush did was wrong. Even if what he did exactly is kind of fuzzy, we know he was involved with a sports agent while playing college football, a big no-no.
A Heisman-less Bush must now move on with his life. It must be tough, what with his millions of dollars, Super Bowl rings and memories of a relationship with Kim Kardashian.
Bush said his giving the Heisman back was “not an admission of guilt.” He can think what he wants. Officially, the Heisman Trust said the 2005 Heisman would be vacant.
Yet a bunch of crazy talk erupted last week that former Texas Longhorns quarterback Vince Young wanted the award.
Bush won that Heisman. By a lot. He received the second highest amount of votes ever and doubled the votes Young received. The race wasn’t close.
Who’s to say Young would have won had Bush been ineligible? Bush and 2004 Heisman winner Matt Leinart were on the same team, they could have split votes. Yet Bush still won in a landslide. Without Bush who’s to say Leinart doesn’t become the second two-time Heisman winner.
Ignorant fans say Young should have won, especially since he almost single handedly beat USC in the Rose Bowl. Guess what, geniuses? That game happened after the Heisman Trophy was handed out. You can’t use that as a case for Young nabbing the award.
The man behind this madness was none other than Texas’s Mack Brown, the world’s best (or worst) politician disguising himself as a college football coach. “I talked to Vince and told him that it would be very important for the University of Texas football program if the Heisman was brought back here,” Brown said. “Not for you, but for the university I’d like for you to stand up and say you want it because I think it would be important to bring it back here.”
In 2004 Brown persuaded pollsters to bump Texas up in the rankings in order for the Longhorns to play in a Bowl Championship Series game. It worked and poor Cal, perhaps the second best team in the nation that season (yes, including undefeated Auburn and Oklahoma) was unfairly pushed aside despite being ahead of Texas during the final weekend of the regular season.
Common sense prevailed, as Young won’t be awarded a Heisman he didn’t deserve.
Now that the Heisman mess is sorted out, I have some points to bring up regarding the entire Bush saga:
USC’s facing severe penalties is simply wrong. The NCAA has to change its method of punishing schools. Why should these players who were middle schoolers at the time pay the price for Bush’s misdeeds?
There needs to be a way to penalize the player. Make him (or her) pay back whatever tuition costs, whatever room and board costs, any fees associated with going to school for a free ride. Fine the college a hefty dollar amount.
But don’t punish players that have nothing to do with the situation. That makes no sense.
I also don’t think what Bush did was really that bad. These student-athletes make universities loads of cash. You want to know what’s bad? Using steroids, that’s bad. Having someone else do your homework, that’s bad. Cheating or falsifying grades to get into college, that’s bad.
Your parents getting a pad? Driving a new car? Travel expenses paid for? How does this help someone on the field?
Finally, who here thinks Bush was the only Heisman winner to get a little something extra? Not just Heisman winners, you know these athletes get a little something extra not just in the classroom, but in the wallet. Watch “The Program,” it’ll clear everything up.
Imagine if a Heisman winner from back in the day, maybe from the 60s or 70s, was found to be dirty. Would a media frenzy come about? Would hardware be given back?
I think every university is dirty until it’s caught. When I went to school, an instructor offered to give me a free A if I just continued writing coverage on their sport. No attendance, no work, no tests, just a free grade. I wasn’t an athlete, just a mild mannered reporter without the physique of Clark Kent.
Hell, I knew an older dude who played baseball about four decades ago, was heavily recruited by many universities, and had tremendous offers. One, which sounded very tempting, went like this: Attend our school and you’ll never have to go to class. Ever. You’ll get a degree and all you have to do is play baseball.
This was a tiny college that was hurting, but the offer was out there. Not from a coach, but from an administrator. A big shot was offering that “education.”
Temptation is out there. Bush got popped and now the Heisman is his penance. Unfortunately, USC is serving its penance for years to come.