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Thursday, May 4th 2006


I certainly don’t agree with all of Jon Wilner’s analysis (especially concerning the risk of Reggie losing his Heisman trophy which would be a PR disaster considering he’s one of the most popular figures in all of sports right now). However, as a Trojan fan I should prepare for the worst, including the loss of our national titles.

There are too many names, titles, facts, figures and allegations to explain the Bush saga in a few sentences. Suffice it to say that for USC, the most serious issue isn’t that the Griffins rented a Spring Valley home owned by Michaels throughout the 2005 season. It’s the allegation that LaMar Griffin accepted a $28,000 payment from Michaels in the fall of ’04, a violation of the extra-benefit rule that would have made Bush ineligible before USC won the 2004 national championship.

At stake: Bush’s Heisman Trophy.

Status: Extremely serious jeopardy.

Reason: The Heisman ballot states that recipients must be in compliance with NCAA rules.

“We’re doing some soul-searching ourselves right now,” Rob Whalen, director of the Heisman Trophy Trust, told espn.com. “To the best of my knowledge no one has ever had a Heisman Trophy revoked.”

At stake: USC’s victories and Pac-10 title in 2005.

Status: Extremely serious jeopardy.

Reason: According to reports, the Griffins began renting Michael’s house in the spring of ’05. If they failed to pay market rate — Michaels claims they paid no rent at all — then the NCAA could rule that Bush was ineligible for the 2005 season.

At stake: USC’s victories and Pac-10 title in 2004.

Status: Serious jeopardy.

Reason: According to a statement by Michaels’ attorney Brian Watkins issued to Yahoo! Sports, Michaels gave the Griffins $28,000 to settle their debt.

An exact date is not given, but the letter indicates the transaction took place in the late fall. If true, the NCAA could rule that Bush was ineligible for part of the 2004 season and force the Trojans to forfeit games won after the payment was made.

At stake: USC’s ’04 national title.

Status: Serious jeopardy.

Reason: Only the Bowl Championship Series, which is operated by the major conference commissioners, has the authority to revoke its championship. It probably wouldn’t look kindly on any title won with an ineligible player.

“Right now, the BCS isn’t set up to deal with this kind of issue,” BCS spokesman Charles Bloom said. “But it will definitely be discussed in the near future.”

Translation: At their meetings in Half Moon Bay in June, the commissioners could rewrite BCS rules to allow them to revoke USC’s championship.

At stake: Future scholarships, recruiting opportunities, postseason bids.

Status: Moderate jeopardy.

Reason: Should USC officials, including Carroll, have known about the Griffins’ relationship with Michaels and New Era? If the Pac-10 or NCAA determines there was a “lack of institutional control,” then the football program could face recruiting and postseason sanctions.