Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Heisman Striptease?

The speculation of Reggie Bush being stripped of his Heisman trophy drenched today’s sports news headlines.  The decision is pending due to a meeting (to occur by the end of September) of the Heisman Trust, a committee of a seven, pro bono, trustees who “are guided by a devotion to college football and are committed to community service and the valued tradition which the Trophy represents” (heisman.com).  If the Trust strips Bush, now an impact player for the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, this would be the first instance of this EVER happening in the 75-year history of the award.  The hinge of the debate hangs upon the rule stating the award shall be received by an eligible player, a title of which five years later, Bush was deemed unworthy.

In an era engulfed by performance enhancing drugs, it is baffling that this issue holds the weight it does.  Bush utilized NONE of the drugs ingested by dozens of impact baseball players who are commonly accused, convicted, and forgiven prior to receiving the “hero” tag they wore once before, and claiming Reggie Bush as the FIRST and/or ONLY college football player/Heisman winner to receive “extra benefits” would be a far cry from reality.  More accepted fact lies in the purpose of the Heisman trophy, which is to recognize and honor the most outstanding player in college football.  In 2005, that was Reggie Bush.

In the midst of a USC dynasty, Reggie Bush shined brightly among a cornucopia of highly regarded NFL draft picks.  During his 2005 campaign, which ended in status as the nation’s number two team, Bush rushed for 1,740 yards and 17 total TDs, and he tallied a whopping 42 TDs in three years at USC!  Need I remind everyone that, numbers aside, Reggie Bush is arguably THE MOST DYNAMIC college football player EVER! 

As far as the Heisman trophy is concerned, voters and nonvoters alike shared my sentiments as Bush racked up the HIGHEST percentage of first place votes in the history of the Heisman trophy (84%) in a landslide vote placing him above Vince Young, who would later undo the USC powerhouse in one of the greatest national championship games, and Matt Leinart, winner of the previous year’s Heisman.  Bush also won the Doak Walker, Walter Camp, and Pac-10 player of the year awards clearly crowning him the MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER in college football during the 2004-2005 season.  Let’s not fall into a witch hunt plaguing Reggie Bush as the scapegoat for years of players receiving “extra benefits” and tip-toeing around NCAA regulations, while Matt Leinart cuddles his Heisman and Pete Carroll conveniently slid out of the backdoor to the pro ranks, which prior to now held limited appeal to him.

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