Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Reggie Bush Forfeits 2005 Heisman Award

There is something seriously wrong here.

College Football is a business.  Pure and simple.  It is a cash cow for Universities, and the head football coach is typically one of the highest paid employees, sort of.  Head football coaches draw a nominal salary from the university for which they coach.  However, much of the compensation comes from alumni associations and other interested parties such as radio and television shows.

The Heisman Award is given to the whomever is considered the best college football player that year.  In 2005, Reggie Bush was given that distinction, albeit Vince Young was a serious contender for the award.  Reggis Bush has forfeited the award.  Not because he wasn't the best player but because he was enticed into accepting money from third parties. 

You tell me.  What 18-year old kid out of high school, when flashed a nice sum of money, would not be tempted to take it?  He probably knew it was wrong, but the adult flashing the money absolutely knew it was wrong, and was willing to taint the future of the athlete and the school, for a short term gain, in the hopes that it would never get revealed.

I would argue that Reggie Bush is a victim.  By all accounts, he has been a good citizen for the city of New Orleans, and he has been a very good professional football player.  He has donated time and money to local charities.  Yet, he was forced to give up a major award for on field performance for something he was probably coerced into doing off the field.

Pete Carrol, the USC head coach at the time, quickly moved on to the Seattle Seahawks.  Whether he knew about the payments or not is not really relevant.  He knew a sinking ship when he saw it and got out.  I'm sure any major college football coach "knows" that stuff is going on around him, but I'm sure he is usually assured at some some major luncheon by a large donor to "not worry about a thing."  He doesn't need to know, but he knows.

I know these players are given scholarships, and I'm sure quite a few of them coast through programs with classes like basket weaving and music appreciation.  Others really do make the most of the opportunity.  However, none of them are given living expenses, and often, because of their practice schedule, can't work.  For those that find a part-time job, often with an alumnus, it becomes scrutinized.  It is time to end the charade and start paying these players some money, even if it is only nominal living expenses.  Their performance is earning the university a ton of money, often compensating money losing sports, they should get something in return.

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