Bush: Trophy Matter "Out of My Hands"

A day after Yahoo! Sports reported that the Heisman Trust wants its trophy back, Reggie Bush says the matter is out of his hands

By Jonathan Lloyd
|  Wednesday, Sep 8, 2010  |  Updated 2:10 PM PDT
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<a title=Lane Kiffin says his team is too busy to worry about what happens to Reggie Bush's Heisman trophy." />

Lane Kiffin says his team is too busy to worry about what happens to Reggie Bush's Heisman trophy.

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Reggie Bush told the Associated Press Wednesday that he "cannot confirm or deny" whether he has met with anyone from the Heisman Trophy Trust regarding his 2005 trophy.

On Tuesday, Yahoo! Sports reported that Bush will be stripped of his Heisman trophy by the end of September.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Bush said the matter is "out of my hands." He said his play on the field speaks for itself, and that he "cannot confirm or deny" whether he has met with anyone from the Trust.

Bush, who spoke with reporters Wednesday after practice with the New Orleans Saints, said he hasn't thought about whether he would return the trophy if asked to do so.

"I think at this point it's kind of out of my hands," Bush said. "Whatever you guys report, you have to go with that. But if I'm not mistaken, I think the Heisman Trust people released a statement saying that whatever was said yesterday was inaccurate. So that's where we're at."

The Yahoo! Sports report came as the Heisman Trophy Trust wraps up its investigation into the former USC tailback's case. If Bush is stripped of the trophy, it would mark the first time the Trust retroactively ruled on the eligibility of a past Heisman winner.

A spokesman for the Trust said later Tuesday that members have not made a decision.

"The Heisman Trophy trust has yet to make a decision," trust spokesman Tim Henning told ESPN.

Bush, his mother and stepfather accepted thousands of dollars in cash and free housing while Bush was playing for USC beginning in December 2004, according to an NCAA  investigation, the details of which were released in June. Bush and his family were also given an automobile, air travel, hotel lodging, transportation and other benefits, according to the NCAA's 67-page report.

As a result, the program was stripped  of all of its wins in which  Bush played, beginning in December 2004.

The Trust conducted its own investigation after the NCAA findings were released. From the report by Yahoo! Sports:

Two sources close to the Heisman trust said the body’s investigation is coming to a close, and will ultimately concur with the NCAA’s determination  that Bush was ineligible during his Heisman-winning season in 2005. Because of that independent conclusion, sources said the trust will relieve Bush of the award and leave the honor for that season vacant. The sources said Bush met with Heisman representatives last month at the New York law offices of Emmet, Marvin & Martin. The sources would not reveal details of that meeting.
...Two factors outweighed all others, sources said: The Heisman ballot necessitates candidates be in compliance with NCAA bylaws and concern over the Heisman’s reputation in the wake of the NCAA findings against Bush.

Former Texas quarterback Vince Young finished a convincing second in the voting that season.

That same year, the Longhorns and Trojans met in the National Championship game.  A game Texas won 41-38 after Young bolted for the end zone in the games final seconds and created fits for the USC defense throughout the night.

Texas coach Mack Brown made a good case for his former quarterback on ESPN on Tuesday, but all analysts aren't so sure simply handing Young the trophy is the right thing to do.

On ESPN Tuesday, Skip Bayless, who thought Young should have had the Heisman initially, thought a better punishment for Bush would be to publicly shame him by forever leaving that year as blank in the Heisman record book.

In a letter announcing the hiring of Pat Haden as USC's new athletic director earlier this year, incoming university President C.L. Max Nikias wrote that he wanted all tributes to Bush and former basketball player O.J. Mayo -- who also figured prominently in the NCAA investigation -- removed from sports facilities at the campus. Nikias wrote that the university would be returning its copy of the trophy.

"The Trojan family honors and respects the USC sporting careers of those persons whose actions did not compromise their athletic program or the opportunities of future USC student-athletes," Nikias wrote. "Accordingly, I have instructed the senior vice president for administration to remove athletic jerseys and murals displayed in recognition of O.J. Mayo and Reggie Bush by mid-August -- before the incoming class of students moves on campus -- from Heritage Hall, the Galen Center and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum."

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