Reggie Bush Heisman Trophy to be returned

Reggie Bush Heisman Trophy from USC will be returned to the Heisman Trophy Trust due to the amateur player payments scandal.

In this file photo from January 4, 2005, Southern California head coach Pete Carroll gives Reggie Bush a pep talk during the 2005 National Championship at the Orange Bowl in Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida.

The University of Southern California (USC) will return its copy of the Heisman Trophy awarded to the New Orleans Saints' Reggie Bush for his part in an amateur player payments scandal that has left the school reeling.

USC was slapped with severe penalties by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) last month after reports that running back Bush had accepted money and other benefits from marketing agents while playing for the school.

The scandal also enveloped basketballer O.J. Mayo, who played a single season with USC and now plays for the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies.

In a letter addressed to 'members of the USC Trojan family' on Tuesday, the school's president-elect Max Nikias said "athletic jerseys and murals displayed in recognition of O.J. Mayo and Reggie Bush" would be removed from campus venues.

"The university will also return Mr. Bush's 2005 Heisman Trophy to the Heisman Trophy Trust in August."

The Heisman Trophy is college football's highest individual honor.

USC, whose teams are nicknamed the Trojans, were banned from participating in NCAA football's lucrative post-season for two years, and were stripped of their 2004 national championship among 12 wins from the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

Officials estimate the punishment will cost the university millions of dollars.

College sports in the United States and the huge sums generated from broadcast rights and gate receipts have traditionally tested the ideals of amateur competition.

A number of schools have fallen foul of the rule over the decades, including Dallas's Southern Methodist University, which was famously banned for an entire season in 1987 and lost dozens of scholarships for repeated payments abuses.

More recently, the NCAA spared the University of Alabama its most severe punishment -- the 'death penalty' -- for a similar scandal involving payments to entice players in 2002.

The USC, which also produced 1968 Heisman winner O.J. Simpson, named Rhodes scholar and former USC and NFL quarterback Pat Haden as athletics director to take over from Mike Garrett, who resigned on Tuesday.

"Winning any way other than the right way is not winning at all," Haden said.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.