Blame it on … Reggie Bush?

Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah.

I love to play sports (badly) but I’m not too much of a fan.  Rarely do I write about it.  But I  am really bothered by a June 17  Los Angeles Sentinel article that stated Reggie Bush could have saved USC,

“There are so many layers and movie parts to this story, but it comes down to one player.  Reggie Bush. …  Even after the story came to light Bush could have saved he program if he has (sic) simply cooperated with the NCAA.”

Sorry.  Reggie Bush is not a superhero who could have saved his team.

From the  NCAA’s website on the USC sanctions:


Southern California appears before the Committee on Infractions for alleged academic fraud violations in football and women’s swimming. The school is penalized with two years of probation and scholarship reductions in both sports.

April 21: NCAA Agent, Gambling and Amateurism (AGA) staff received invitation that a former Southern California football student-athlete might have received impermissible benefits while a student-athlete at the institution.

April 24: NCAA staff contacted the Pacific-10 Conference to work cooperatively on the case.

September: Major enforcement investigators join the case.

April – November:Interviews conducted by the NCAA’s Academic and Membership Affairs staff, AGA staff, major enforcement and the institution.

June: Interviews by the NCAA, conference and institution continue.

August 27: Notice of Inquiry sent to the institution.

April – May: Former student-athletes and members of the men’s basketball coaching staff are interviewed by the NCAA, Pac-10 and institution.

September 24: A Notice of Allegations is sent to the president of the institution, former head men’s basketball coach and the assistant football coach. Per NCAA policy, institutions have 90 days to respond to a notice of allegations.

December 23:Southern California submits its response to the Notice of Allegations.

January 4: Assistant football coach submitted his response to the Notice of Allegations (extension granted by committee).

January 11: The former head men’s basketball coach submitted his response to the Notice of Allegations.

January – February:The enforcement staff conducts prehearing conferences with the institution and involved individuals. The prehearing conferences are held to prevent new information from being introduced at the hearing.

February 18–20: The institution appeared before the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions in Tempe, Arizona.

March 2: The Committee on Infractions completed deliberations regarding findings and penalties for the former head men’s basketball coach.

June 10: Infractions report is released.


Basketball, swimming, and football were involved in the NCAA’s investigation of USC.  The NCAA found USC guilty of a lack of  institutional control.  This indicates a systemic problem.  In other words, if Reggie Bush had never been a Trojan, someone else would have been cast in his role.  And why pick on USC football? As Lewis’s article notes, basketball received even harsher sanctions than football did.

A recent article by Derek Hart in the Daily Trojan – a paper not known for being hard hitting or self reflective slams the USC sports community:

What angers me the most in all of this, and the reason why I feel USC’s sanctions were as harsh as it could get short of the death penalty, is the arrogance that the entire Trojan community, from athletic director Mike Garrett to the fans, has shown throughout the four year NCAA investigation.

From what Garrett, coach Lane Kiffin, and the countless number of USC supporters that frequent the various fan web sites have said, the “Trojan Family” has shown no remorse for what they have done.

They are, as one blogger put it, “the most spoiled, obnoxious people in college sports.”

According to Garrett, the NCAA has “…nothing but a lot of envy. They wish they were Trojans,” (yeah, sure).

Kiffin also effectively gave the NCAA the finger when he stated, “SC is more powerful than anything else. The university, the football program…no matter what they try to do to us, it won’t matter.”

If that is not extreme arrogance, then I don’t know the meaning of the word.


Reggie Bush was wrong.  But he is still a very minor player in this saga.  He’s just one more talented “student” athlete from humble beginnings  marching through a university athletics system that makes little sense.

Low Graduation Rates?  Status quo.  Don’t  believe me?  Check out graduation rates from’s annual analysis for  this year:

Grad Rates for African American Football Players: Selected Schools
African American Caucasian Difference
North Carolina St. 43% 94% -51%
Auburn 48% 94% -46%
Arkansas 40% 78% -38%
UCLA 31% 68% -37%
Georgia 48% 83% -35%
Miami 65% 100% -35%
Mississippi 60% 94% -34%
Utah 48% 82% -34%
Texas 37% 69% -32%
Georgia Tech 41% 73% -32%
Oregon 39% 70% -31%

Check the whole thing out at

The student athlete myth is blown up (again) by Myron Rolle.

When Rolle chose to study at Oxford for a year rather than complete his senior season at Florida State or jump to the NFL, some teams in the league not only took that as an indication Rolle wasn’t completely devoted to football, but also worried that he was a little too ambitious and free-thinking. The fear was that his dream of becoming a neurosurgeon might compete with his desire to play on Sundays.  ESPN’s Jemele Hill lays it out in her post, “Myron Rolle’s Sad Draft Fall”:

“Sometimes when you’re as acclimated to life away from football as he is, it can hurt you,” said Corey Chavous, who played in the NFL 11 years and created, which covers the draft year-round. “It’s a balance. I’ll put it like this: I went to an academic school in Vanderbilt, but I don’t think there was any question [among scouts] that I wasn’t going to do anything as far as my major goes. You can go to an academic school, but when you decide to take a year off, then those questions are legitimate. You’re in the middle of trying to prove yourself — granted, you were the No. 1 player in high school — but you’re not a dominant player at your position yet. Do you feel like you’re good enough to take time off?”


Required reading:  William Rhoden’s Forty Million Dollar Slaves:  The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Black Athlete.


About liftingasweclimb

Mildred Lewis writes and directs for theater, television, film and the web. She's also a full time professor, Christian, activist and troublemaker with a passion to save as much of the world as she can.
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