Should Reggie Bush Really Have to Give Back The Heisman?
When you really take the time to think about it, the notion of Reggie Bush being stripped of his 2005 Heisman trophy is completely ludicrous. How can an association such as the NCAA, a university such as the University of Southern California, and the Heisman organization disassociate themselves with someone who they used primarily has a pawn for three years while he attended the USC? Yes, he was there on a scholarship, which would probably be around a $40,000 to $50,000 a year benefit. And yes, under NCAA rules and regulations student athletes on scholarship cannot receive any type of benefit from anybody under any circumstance. But just think about how much the NCAA and the university profited off him for those three years he attended USC.
From the years 2004 to 2006 it has been estimated that Bush received $500,000 in payments and benefits to both himself and his family. How could the NCAA and USC possibly be unaware of the fact that this was going on during that period? The answer is simple. They were aware the entire time, but because of business and financial reasons, they had to turn a blind eye.
The USC football program, and the NCAA, earns their revenue through five major streams; playing in BCS title games, playing in bowl games, television contracts, merchandise sales, and other royalties. From Bush’s first day on campus he was the man and he had a major effect on the amount of money USC was earning. USC may have been stacked with talent at every position, but it was Bush who started breaking records as a freshman, and it was Bush who people turned there TV’s on to watch. During his time at the school, USC played in a BCS bowl game every year, which helped earn a large sum of cash for the school. His #5 jersey could be seen throughout the stadium week in and week out, and to this day it is still a top selling jersey. In 2006 alone, nine out of the twelve USC games played were broadcasted on national television, not including the 13th which was the National Championship Game. This meant big bucks for the school, which is why the benefits Bush was receiving illegally were ignored. If after his first season in 2004, he would have been deemed ineligible to play and lost his scholarship, the NCAA and USC would have lost a huge cash cow and any successful business man will tell you that is simply “bad business”. Not having Bush around would have surely cost USC merchandise revenues, TV contracts, and there is a good chance that they would have never played in three consecutive BCS bowl games. So it is very easy for the NCAA to do there investigation with the cooperation of the university three to four years after the fact. By that time Bush has moved on to the NFL and they have already maximized their profit through him.
So if the NCAA, USC and the Heisman organization want to disassociate themselves with Reggie Bush and have him hand back his Heisman trophy (which he has already done), maybe it would be a good idea if they also did some paying back of there own. Maybe they should pay back some of the huge revenue created through TV contracts and merchandise sales. But who are we kidding? This would never happen. All it does is reiterate the fact that the kids attending these NCAA sanctioned schools on football scholarships are just pawns in an elaborate money making scheme.