USC trying to clean up image, starts by throwing out Bush’s Heisman

December 03, 2005 - Los Angeles, CA..USC's Reggie Bush #5 runs in action against UCLA...USC defeats the UCLA Bruins at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. USC won the game 66-19..Photo Louis Lopez Photo via Newscom

A day after helping Mike Garrett with his retirement decision (that’s a nice way of saying they gave him the boot) and replacing him with new athletic director Pat Haden, USC returned its copy of the Heisman Trophy that former running back Reggie Bush won in 2005.


The university’s incoming president announced an overhaul of the athletic department Tuesday, replacing athletic director Mike Garrett with Pat Haden, ordering the removal of displays honoring Bush’s and Mayo’s accomplishments at USC and returning its copy of Bush’s Heisman.

Haden said the school’s plan to get rid of nearly all references to Bush and Mayo — right down to scrubbing their images from school murals and removing Bush’s No. 5 jersey in its place of honor in the lobby of Heritage Hall — are all part of the NCAA’s directive to disassociate the school from the athletes.

It’s important to note that Bush is still in possession of the original Heisman, which is given out by the Downtown Athletic Club and the Heisman Trust. Outside of the fact that it’s given to a college player, the NCAA has no barring on who receives the award and therefore, whether or not one should be taken away.

Some may question why USC didn’t get rid of O.J. Simpson’s Heisman after he murdered two people all of his legal troubles, but don’t forget that his trial in the early 90s was nearly 30 years after he donned a Trojan uniform. Plus, everything that coconut did after his playing days had no affect on what he did on the field at USC.

Bush, on the other hand, is a different story. He directly played a role in USC receiving a two-year bowl ban and I can’t blame the university for wanting to scrub his name from its memory. Their message is clear: We’re moving on.

If this is USC’s way of embarrassing Bush, then so be it. He deserves it. I realize he was only a kid and kids are easily persuaded, but he still knew right from wrong. He still made the conscious decision to put himself ahead of the program.

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Mike Garrett out as USC AD, Pat Haden in

17 Dec 1997: Athletic Director Mike Garrett of USC talks at a press conference after the firing of head coach John Robinson of the USC Trojans football staff at the Sheraton Grande Hotel in Los Angeles, California.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Pat Haden will replace Mike Garrett as USC’s next athletic director.

Garrett came under fire recently when USC was put on four years probation by the NCAA for a series of violations, primarily involving its football program, that added up to a lack of institutional control. That kind of NCAA action almost always results in fingers being pointed at the athletic director, and Nikias’ action appears to be in response to those NCAA penalties.

Reports state that Garrett “retired,” but the fact is that he’s being pushed out and Trojan fans should rejoice.

Some like to point out that Garrett oversaw the football program’s success over the years, but don’t forget that it was former graduate coaching assistant and current Syracuse AD Daryl Gross that brought Pete Carroll to Southern Cal – not Garrett.

Garrett’s claim to fame is subsequently having a hand in the departures of basketball coaches Henry Bibby and Tim Floyd, ruining a once proud USC baseball program with the firing of Mike Gillespie (the university maintains that he retired, but even he is on record as saying he was let go) and now, being the man in charge when the NCAA handed down its two-year bowl ban in light of the Reggie Bush investigation.

Garrett may have held the position for 17 years, but his recent track record speaks for itself and the USC faithful should be encouraged that Haden is coming in.

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