Reggie Bush in USC uniform, standing at an awards presentation. He's looking off into the distance, as if deep in thought.
Money, illegal gifts and Kim Kardashian have made life difficult for Reggie Bush. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Daveblack/Wikipedia)

For University of Southern California running back Reggie Bush, 2005 was a magical year. While USC ended up losing to Texas in the national championship game, the San Diego-born Bush ran away from his Heisman Trophy competition in a spectacular All-American season. But dark clouds soon followed. Thanks to the NCAA Committee on Infractions, the ongoing Reggie Bush scandal that manifest after Bush left USC for the NFL has run its course. For violating NCAA rules by accepting money and illegal gifts from sports agents while still an amateur athlete, media sources report that Reggie Bush has become the first player in the 75-year history of the award to have his Heisman Trophy taken away. For USC, the 2005 season is now unofficially memoria non grata – an unwelcome memory.

Reggie Bush scandal stems from junior and senior season incidents

It took the NCAA Committee on Infractions more than four years to investigate the Reggie Bush scandal, but after determining without a doubt that both Bush and his family accepted cash and gifts as bribes to accept the agents’ professional services, the organization made the only allowable ruling. USC has been placed on four years of probation, which eliminates the team from bowl game contention those seasons. In addition, the university loses 30 athletic scholarships over the next three years. Current players and recruits have also been given the green light to transfer to another school without being penalized by the NCAA, according to the New York Daily News. Some players have already left, and more may follow as new USC head coach Lane Kiffin looks to keep the storied program on top of the college football world.

‘Like free agency without a salary cap’

Coach Kiffin likened USC’s current situation with players and recruits to free agency in college football, which technically does not exist, as players must not be paid if they are to maintain their amateur standing (and hence eligibility to play under NCAA rules). “We’re dealing with free agency with no salary cap on our players,” said Kiffin. “They can leave anytime to go anywhere and they can play right away. There’s no cut-off date until after the final day of add-drop. It makes for a difficult situation.”

USC hopes a fast start to the 2010 season will erase doubts

Southern California has made a habit of sending talented quarterbacks to the NFL in recent years, and the program hopes for more of the same with sophomore Matt Barkley. However, media scrutiny will be intense as the school attempts to pick up the pieces following the Reggie Bush scandal. Barkley is realistic about the situation, however. He told the Daily News that “I signed (at USC) because it was the best chance for me to get to the league.” When Kiffin responded to the statement by asking Barkley if he planned to remain with the team through his senior season, the young quarterback said, “Yeah, hopefully. We’ll see.”
USC will have to wait and see whether the Reggie Bush scandal has indeed rocked the giant of a team from its exalted position atop the college football beanstalk.

Los Angeles Times
New York Daily News

Akin to what the NCAA Committee on Infractions has done to Reggie Bush

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