In a press release announcing the “retirement” of Mike Garrett as athletic director and the naming of Pat Haden as Garrett’s replacement, USC president-elect Max Nikias addressed an issue that’s been the source of much discussion/debate and plenty of controversy over the past few months.
Reggie Bush‘s 2005 Heisman Trophy. Or, as the case is now that there are new sheriffs in town, Reggie Bush‘s former Heisman Trophy.
Prefacing his remarks in the release by stating that the “Trojan Family honors and respects the USC sporting careers of those persons whose actions did not compromise their athletic programs”, Nikias wrote that he has “instructed the senior vice president for administration to remove athletic jerseys and murals displayed in recognition of O.J. Mayo and Reggie Bush by mid-August… from Heritage Hall, the Galen Center and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.”
Then, Nikias’ coup de grâce.
“The university will also return Mr. Bush’s 2005 Heisman Trophy to the Heisman Trophy Trust in August.”
Ouch. Or, in other words, “I went to the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York City and all I got was this lousy reproduction.”
The Heisman has been on display at USC’s Heritage Hall since Bush won the award in 2005, but will now be returned to the East Coast as part of Nikias’ initiative to “enhance the compliance department” and “ensure that [student-athletes] are nourished by and beholden to the noblest values of the academy and society.”
Apparently, a former star athlete who allegedly received in the neighborhood of $300,000 in illegal benefits does not fit Nikias’ vision of the new USC athletic department moving forward. Who knew?
As for the 2005 Heisman Trophy itself, don’t look for it to end up in the trophy case of either Vince Young or the Texas athletic department. Depending on the actions of the Heisman Trust — if any actions are indeed taken — Bush will either remain as the listed winner of the award for the 2005 season or the trophy will simply be “vacated” for that year.