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USC stripped of ’04 BcS title

Pete Carroll

Shortly after sanctions were handed down/slammed onto the USC football program for the Reggie Bush fiasco, it was widely expected that the Trojans would be stripped of their 2004 BcS championship.

Nearly a year after those sanctions were levied on the program, and shortly after the school’s appeal of those sanctions was denied, the Trojans have indeed been stripped of the title.

According to a statement by BcS executive director Bill Hancock, USC’s 2004 title has officially been wiped off the books. The Trojans become the first football program to have a title vacated in the poll era.

The Associated Press had previously announced that USC would keep their 2004 AP title regardless of the sanctions and subsequent appeal, while the Football Writers Association of America, like the BcS, stripped the Trojans of their ’04 crown.

“The BCS arrangement crowns a national champion, and the BCS games are showcase events for post-season football,” Hancock said. “One of the best ways of ensuring that they remain so is for us to foster full compliance with NCAA rules. Accordingly, in keeping with the NCAA’s recent action, USC’s appearances are being vacated.

“This action reflects the scope of the BCS arrangement and is consistent with the NCAA’s approach when it subsequently discovers infractions by institutions whose teams have played in NCAA championship events.”

In addition to the vacated national title, USC is also forced to vacate their 2006 Rose Bowl appearance, a 41-38 win by Texas in the thrilling title game following the 2005 season.

And, no Auburn and/or Oklahoma, there will not be a new champion; rather, there will be no official winner of the ’04 title, although unofficially people will still remember the 55-19 pounding the Trojans put on the Sooners in the title game.

It’s unclear whether USC will return the crystal football trophy as it did with their copy of Bush’s Heisman.

As of this posting, there’s been no official comment from the school on this admittedly expected development.

UPDATED 5:01 p.m. ET: USC athletic director Pat Haden has released a statement on the BcS’ decision.

“This was not an unexpected outcome. We will comply with all requirements mandated by the result of this BCS vote.”

Additional, a school spokesperson confirmed to the Orange County Register that the BcS trophy was removed from the Heritage Hall lobby this morning.  It remains unclear if the university will be shipping the crystal hardware back to the BcS.

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46 Responses to “USC stripped of ’04 BcS title”
  1. myballsmyrules says: Jun 6, 2011 4:32 PM

    The NCAA better slap the Death Penalty on THEE Ohio Play-For-Vehicles University then. To hammer USC that harshly and not give OSU anything harsher would be BS

  2. htru02 says: Jun 6, 2011 4:37 PM

    If that was true Mr. Hancock how did you allow/petition for Ohio State to play in the Sugar Bowl? Rules were violated right? Oops.

  3. yuckygeo says: Jun 6, 2011 4:56 PM

    Geez, let the Ohio State obsession go. It’s not healthy.

  4. dmcannon99 says: Jun 6, 2011 5:05 PM

    Seriously? The BCS is a joke – how much cheating does everybody think is going on with these teams? Are these rules going to be equally applied to everybody, or will it be handed out depending on the school? Maybe a particular player or coach will make somebody unhappy, so their team will be investigated and they’ll find something wrong. And I like the “Ohio State obsession” statement – do you think OSU gets an out? For what reason? Let’s sanction all the cheaters and see what happens to intercollegiate athletics. Go for it!

  5. baredon says: Jun 6, 2011 5:14 PM

    It’s been 7 years. Who gives a big rats tail what the BCS or NCAA does now?? The money has been made and spent…

    But I will sleep better tonight knowing the NCAA is on guard…!! What a joke…

  6. sdpaulson says: Jun 6, 2011 5:21 PM

    A couple of comments. 1) the NCAA is a JOKE! – I agree baredon who really friggin cares at this point 2) a coach is hired to coach his players – far as I’m concerned it’s up to the University (President/AD) to manage a players family…..

  7. jesse1834 says: Jun 6, 2011 5:24 PM

    F$@& the NCAA, they can’t “men-in-black” me and expect me to forget that the season for USC never happened. I hate those communist bastards at the NCAA!!!

  8. pfitz2 says: Jun 6, 2011 5:28 PM

    If that was true Mr. Hancock how did you allow/petition for Ohio State to play in the Sugar Bowl? Rules were violated right? Oops.

    It was not his decision nor did he allow/petition for Ohio St. to play in the Sugar bowl. The NCAA allowed it. The BCS does not choose who plays in the BCS bowls other than the NC. Oops

  9. floridacock says: Jun 6, 2011 5:42 PM

    I realize this is the BCS, but OSU and UNC better get ready. They ain’t mess’in ’round anymore. But we still need better consistency from the NCAA

  10. paparoach25 says: Jun 6, 2011 5:56 PM

    osu didn’t cheat though during their national title therefore they should be able to keep it. I agree the death penalty should be handed down but the ncaa won’t because of the money osu brings them. the ncaa is corrupt itself .

  11. paulfountaine says: Jun 6, 2011 5:59 PM

    Seems to me that the players and the coaches involved should be the one’s sanctioned.

    How about any coach caught in this kind of scandal forfeits his pay for that season, and that any gains a player makes from their college success (NFL contract) forfeits a large sum of the first year, and any signing bonus.

    These sanctions would make these big programs participants think twice about cheating.

  12. pfitz2 says: Jun 6, 2011 6:03 PM

    The NCAA will never give another school the Death Penalty and those who think they should with tOSU have no idea what it is and what SMU did to get it. The Gov. of TX was involved in the SMU pay-for play as was the entire AD. The NCAA makes $12K on bowls games (licensing fee). The idea that they won’t sanction a football program due to money is preposterous. Their cash cow is the BB tourney. They would make the same amount of money off of Ohio St. football regardless of what kind of punishment they handed down. Look what they did to USC, which caused the BCS to strip the title. You think USC is NOT a huge football program?

  13. tmkelley1 says: Jun 6, 2011 6:24 PM

    This entire spectacle has been a disgrace. That it takes the NCAA and the BCS so many years to handle this boggles the mind. And no matter what, the fact that Bush’s parents did the “crime,” and not him, makes this seem much more like a vendetta than a legitimate investigation. It sure doesn’t change the results on the football field, does it?

  14. thekatman says: Jun 6, 2011 6:31 PM

    You take Reggie Bush’s contribution to the score of the game and it’s still 55-19. USC kicks Okie butt.

  15. paparoach25 says: Jun 6, 2011 6:44 PM

    I disagree with you pfitz . if you remember SMU was a prized university before the death penalty. they have never produced the money they once did cause of the death penalty. a program so historic as Ohio state could be wiped cause of the penalty. they will fall behind in the big 10 like SMU did. they wouldn’t be able to compete after the penalty . the bball program wouldn’t be as supreme if it wasn’t for the fball they wouldn’t be strong in that area

  16. lbijake says: Jun 6, 2011 6:50 PM

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc. It is as easy to see as the tip of your nose.

  17. polegojim says: Jun 6, 2011 7:10 PM

    Many here are…refreshingly…naive.

    USE got disciplined, but still won handily. They just won’t have the trophy to show for it. They’ll have learned their lesson and helped the NCAA teach one to everyone else.

    OSU won’t let their woes end the football programs excellence, no matter the resulting form of discipline. It would benefit NOBODY.

    Stop the whining and on with the Football!

  18. Slim Charles says: Jun 6, 2011 7:32 PM

    How did the BCS computer tell them it wanted to take the trophy? Does it talk like the one in 20o1: a space odyssey?

  19. joerevs300 says: Jun 6, 2011 7:48 PM

    You can’t compare the USC and OSU situations. Way different.

    That being said, you can kiss that OSU victory over Arkansas goodbye. It was bogus to begin with because they didn’t have the stones to suspend Pryor and the others because that would have cost the NCAA and the Sugar Bowl major $$$.

    At the end of the day, does anyone REALLY think Ohio State won’t compete in a weak Big 10, even with NCAA sanctions?

  20. zack60 says: Jun 6, 2011 8:00 PM

    The NCAA spends years investigating USC for one player’s parents doing something illegal and then gives them everything but the death penalty, yet they wrap up the Cam Newton investigation in a week. That sounds fair. Anything but the death penalty for Ohio State will make the USC penalty look like an even bigger joke. The NCAA is the epitome of everything wrong with our country: fat cats, good ole boy network, greed and corruption.

  21. cosanostra71 says: Jun 6, 2011 8:13 PM

    It doesn’t matter because at the end of the day we still have the memories of that season. And what a season it was!

  22. osuinfantry says: Jun 6, 2011 9:17 PM

    Death penalty? Really people? Last year will be wiped, post season bans and scholarship reductions to come for sure and are deserved, but do a little reading about smu. Straight up paying cash to players. Funny how the cam newton thing was sewept under the rug. We will get ours but the death penalty, gimme a friggin break.

  23. Deb says: Jun 6, 2011 9:22 PM

    @myballsmyrules …

    We’re talking about the ’04 BCS title, which means the NCAA spent seven years investigating USC and determining how to handle their pay-for-play infractions. So far, all that’s known about Ohio State is a few kids sold their championship rings and drove around in some cars that they may or may not have bought. The coach that covered it up is gone. Wait for a verdict before screaming for the guillotine.

  24. radrntn says: Jun 6, 2011 10:20 PM

    I am a little confused with all of this…….They never “ever” proved USC knew anything about this. (fact not myth)…yet I guess the ncaa has stated that it is 100% ok to pay a players father on the side (Cam Newton) , and i guess now that facts not myth show that ohio state knew, they have to be much worse off for knowing nothing. Also confused why it always seems like it is only west coast teams that get picked on……i mean lane kiffin was only on the east coast a matter of days when he found out florida violated rules, which urban meyer said so does tennessee, but the ncaa said shhhhh …. the sec walks on water, and drinks purple drank aka j-bust…….gotta laugh that there is an anti trust lawsuit getting ready to go against the BcS….USC should jump in on it with Utah and Boise State.

    Sue em, they will lose…getting stripped of something with no proof is unconstitutional…oh i forgot it all about the almight dollar…here you can have your trophy but we get to keep the 15 million.

  25. radrntn says: Jun 6, 2011 10:26 PM

    oh Deb keep to the steelers and the facts… years and found no proof ever that USC was aware of anything ….two competing agents paid bush, the same way an agent paid cam newtons dad…the real fact is one is pac 10, and the other is sec……..the sec is ok to violate rules , pac 10 regardless if you know or not , cant. Wait to say what happens to the big 10, when all “facts’ shows they knew and did nothing about it.

    Trust me Ohio State based on the USC ruling has to be hung out to dry.

  26. massivedick says: Jun 6, 2011 10:36 PM

    reggie bush …. entitled piece of crap like most bros

  27. paparoach25 says: Jun 6, 2011 10:38 PM

    no one said they would get the death penalty or deserved it .it is something that probably will never be thrown on a university again.

  28. Deb says: Jun 6, 2011 11:25 PM

    radrntn …

    Bite me. You have no idea what we were talking about–which was incidental to USC. As usual, you just stumbled in, saw my name, and started raving.

    Yes, we’re all aware that USC was an innocent victim of rogue boosters. If he hadn’t been a football coach, Pete Carroll would Shaolin priest, wandering the American West, helping the oppressed while searching for his lost brother. Or maybe he would have driven an ice cream truck.

  29. Deb says: Jun 6, 2011 11:30 PM

    Oh, and radrntn …

    Nothing should happen to Ohio State based on the USC ruling. Ohio State’s case should be judged on its own merits. But I hope it doesn’t take seven years for the NCAA to figure out which end is up with this one.

  30. overratedgators says: Jun 7, 2011 12:37 AM

    Utter BS decision from the NCAA.

    USC deserved punishment, big time, but unless the NCAA has a DeLorean with a flux capacitor I don’t know about, they can’t change history.

    “Vacating wins” is a stupid remedy. It’s like finding out that there were some corrupt politicians in the Lincoln administration, so we’re going to rewrite the history books and declare that the North never won the war.

  31. myballsmyrules says: Jun 7, 2011 3:08 AM

    @ Deb
    Here we go again.

    USC was handed a most severe punishment for violations committed by Reggie Bush. He accepted money from agents. It was not proven that any coaches knew what was going on. The NCAA accused McNair of knowing, but has not proven it.

    Thats it, those are the violations that the NCAA hammered the school so severely that I consider the penalty just a step below Death Penalty status.

    Now at THEE Play-For-Vehicles University. It has already been proven that MULTIPLE players committed NCAA infractions. The QB and others are supposedly under investigation for improper use of vehicles(something along those lines). It has also been proven that the Head Coach did not report violations, and in fact lied to the NCAA AND filed a false affadavit to the NCAA. He covered up and tried to hide infractions being committed by his players instead of reporting them.

    Now if I am an impartial investigator, I am looking at OSU and wondering how in the hell were those kids allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl in the first place.
    I’m then looking into how long these infractions have been going on. Then i’m looking into the conduct of the coach, and finally the conduct of the school.

    First off, I don’t care how “penny ante” or assinine the rules are. Rules are rules and everyone must follow them.
    The reasons I would give the “death penalty” which is only slightly worse than what USC got is as follows:

    1. The kids violated the rules numerous times. This was not a one time lapse of judgement, and those kids knew they were committing infractions.
    2. The head coach knew what was going on but did not report it. In fact he tried to hide it. (MAJOR violation)
    3. Head coach lied to the NCAA regarding the matter.(another MAJOR violation)
    4. Head coach submitted a false affadavit AGAIN, lying. (another MAJOR violation)
    5. The Athletic department was made aware of the actions of the players and the coach. And instead of reprimanding the coach, the President actually made jokes about not firing him. The A.D. FALSLY stated that “this was a isolated” incident.
    The President and A.D. actually appeared to be backing and condoning the actions of the head coach.
    6. The Compliance Department did not properly investigate the widespread and public knowledge of a VERY widespread use of 2 car dealerships by the football players.
    7. The lack of any discipline taken against the head coach, and the lack of taking the matter serious.
    8. Only when it came to the schools attention that an article by SI outlining Tressels previous shadiness would be released within 48 hours did the University consider the seriousness of the matter.

    All 8 of those points are more serious than what USC committed and was proven of committing.
    I say it again. USC got slammed for FAR LESS than what is already PROVEN than what occurred at OSU.
    OSU should get the highest penalty short of shutting down the program!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And it doesnt matter that the coach is gone now. Thats irrelevent. He is only gone because even more damaging info was about to be exposed. The school was flippant and defiant about taking any action initially against a coach that admitted SERIOUS violations

  32. diablito0402 says: Jun 7, 2011 7:32 AM

    Ncaa is a joke. This usc story that happened 7 years ago. What about this past championship with scam newton, they had a chance to set the rules and not let him play in the bcs bowl game but they didnt do it because they wouldnt watch the game instead the whole process will happen 10 years from now after the ncaa and bcs have already made their millions. Pitty sad and just plain crooked.

  33. loungefly74 says: Jun 7, 2011 8:05 AM

    yeah…they are still the 04 champs in my book…stripping titles only matter to stat-geeks in the grand scheme of things.

  34. camp69 says: Jun 7, 2011 9:10 AM

    Until there is a playoff in Div. 1, there is no National champion. What they have is a system for fat cats to get rich (Fiesta Bowl). Actually, there never has been a National champion in Div. 1 football, it’s just a popularity contest.

  35. dickroy says: Jun 7, 2011 9:31 AM


    I totally agree with you on this. The National Championship should be decided on the field, not by a bunch of voters and computers determining who should play for it. I see nothing wrong with an 8 team playoff system, even if the No. 9 team complains. At least I think if you have the top 8 in a playoff, you can determine who the real National Champ is.

  36. edgy says: Jun 7, 2011 9:37 AM

    For the deniers, some of the evidence against USC’s football program. There’s a lot more but this will do.

  37. JMReviews says: Jun 7, 2011 10:28 AM

    John, I’m pretty impressed with this post. In the past, every thing you write about USC has been overwhelmingly negative.

    @Edgy The link doesn’t work. I’m rather curious what is this “evidence” that USC should be faulted for this. The NCAA report certainly didn’t reveal much. It is important to prove that either the agent was a school booster or that the school had clear knowledge of the violations. The report proved neither.

    @Deb It’s not even a rogue booster. How can you consider an agent who wants to foster a player-agent relationship a school booster? It is incredibly easy to spew nonsense but slightly more difficult to actually speak about the facts.

    In the end USC still has 11 national titles. 2003 has long been considered a title year, despite only having the AP. We all know what happened that year, who the superior team clearly was.

  38. secgreatness says: Jun 7, 2011 10:31 AM

    Sorry camp69 and dickroy but there has always been a national champion in DIV. 1. Just because two random commenter’s, (or more), on a CFT blog don’t recognize or approve the way in which it is obtained, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The BCS has its system and the AP has its system. Sometime they agree sometimes they don’t. However the fact remains that there are two nationally recognized entities out of many ‘not-so-nationally recognized” which are used to determine our Div. 1 National Champion.

  39. dickroy says: Jun 7, 2011 10:39 AM

    I agree with your name. Sec is great. But the two nationally recognized entities still determine who plays for the title. And yes their two choices do play off for the title. But there could be another team in the top five that could prove they were better, if they determined it on the field.

  40. paparoach25 says: Jun 7, 2011 10:43 AM

    real sucky article johny

  41. edgy says: Jun 7, 2011 10:52 AM

    I didn’t link what the NCAA report had it in but it WAS damning. Hell, if Bush would have kept his word, all this would have disappeared in a burn bag years ago but because he didn’t, it all came back to bite the school.

    Here’s the raw link:

  42. edgy says: Jun 7, 2011 10:58 AM

    BTW, for those who haven’t ever seen it, here is the report from the NCAA on USC:

  43. myballsmyrules says: Jun 7, 2011 11:17 AM

    Ok, I’ve read the NCAA report on USC

    I see that they found violations regarding Reggie Bush.
    Violations regarding one other player, but minor violations.
    Violation for having ONE too many coaches in ONE year
    Violations for a tennis student/athlete making phone calls(not football related)

    Now I’m even more pi$$ed that USC got punished so severely. As I stated earlier.
    The NCAA accused McNair of being in on the Bush pay plan, but never proved it.

    At OSU, everything has already been proven/admitted and each is more severe than USC

    Pay-for-Vehicles University should be shut down!
    The A.D. should be dismissed.
    The President should be dismissed

  44. edgy says: Jun 7, 2011 12:05 PM


    If you read the report and think that USC shouldn’t be punished so severely then I say that your reading skills are seriously deficient. Reggie’s parents had some SERIOUS issues with accepting money and let’s not forget that the basketball program and the football program were under investigation and the severity of violations were enough to damn both programs and would have been more than enough for the NCAA to give them the Death Penalty (Frankly, Cecil Newton was a piker compared to Bush’s parents. They tapped that money like a keg at a frat party).

    Also, those allegations against the other player were FAR from minor. Again, if you look at what happened and think that they’re minor then you need reading lessons (Guys at NC lost their eligibility PERMANENTLY for taking far less than what he did).

  45. Deb says: Jun 7, 2011 1:57 PM

    @JMReviews …

    Apologies on that … no, it wasn’t a rogue booster. It was an agent trying to buy Reggie’s affection, then Reggie reneged on the deal and the agent when public. I was having a bad night, and radrntn just likes to jerk my chain, so I was shooting from the hip.

    But I’m also sorry to report that I don’t believe Pete’s program was clean. And please understand something. It doesn’t give me any pleasure to say that. I was born into a diehard Tide family and Alabama has my full allegiance. But during a brief period of teenage rebellion, I was wooed by the warrior on the white steed and for a couple of years thoroughly annoyed my family by flirting with the Trojans (at least it wasn’t Auburn 😉 ) To this day, I still have a soft spot for Southern Cal. And I’ve had a long, long hate on for Ohio State. I’m trying to be objective in my comments. None of this is personal. If it were, I’d be defending SC and ripping the Buckeyes to shreds.

  46. edgy says: Jun 8, 2011 7:46 AM

    If the Outside The Lines report is true then tOSU is in B1G, B1G trouble. Pryor’s misdeeds go beyond a few tattoos and it may even include more Buckeyes. Ohio State better start voluntarily cleaning up now because if they try to do what Garrett did then they can expect sanctions that are as bad or even worse. This could get very ugly and if they don’t shed 3 to 5 scholarships and give themselves a year ban, they could end up looking as arrogant as USC did.

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