The 2005 Rose Bowl is a game that will always be a source of immense pride for Texas football fans. But, according to the BCS, one of its participants should not have been there.
The BCS has stripped the University of Southern California of its 2004 National Championship and its title game appearance in 2005 due to the improper benefits given to Reggie Bush and the lack of institutional control displayed by USC’s athletic department. The 2004 title, a win over Oklahoma, will be vacated – no champion will be crowned after it was decided Bush was ineligible during that season. The BCS’ decision comes on the heels of embattled Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel’s resignation, adding to the misdeeds and penalizations that have recently characterized college football.
Consequently, the 2005 Rose Bowl, one of Texas Longhorns’ finest moments and most thrilling games ever, becomes a somewhat tarnished event now that it will also be recognized for the controversy that surrounds it. More than six years later, it has been discovered that one of its superstars, Bush, who was key to making that contest the classic that it was, should have been ineligible.
This verdict, combined with the 30 scholarships the football team will not be able to use over the next three years, the lack of bowl eligibility for the next two and the removal of Bush’s Heisman, should hamper the Trojans’ football program in the near future. That Heisman Trophy, which some believed should have been awarded to Young originally, was vacated by the Heisman Trust last September.
Sanctions were previously handed down by the NCAA on the Trojans’ men’s basketball team for similar violations committed regarding benefits given to O.J. Mayo. However, former USC head basketball coach and Tim Floyd and Mayo, along with former USC head football coach Pete Carroll and Bush, all left the program before it was disciplined.
Until now, the 2005 Rose Bowl was remembered for the unprecedented hype it generated, the superstars that were a part of it, its back-and-forth nature, its thrilling ending and Vince Young’s heroics that made it one of the most celebrated championship contests in the history of sports. Because of the wrongdoing that took place at USC during Bush’s college career, it may now be remembered for something else entirely.