Heisman Trust Demands Bush Return His Trophy

On June 7, Paul Pabst of the Dan Patrick Show first broke the news that Reggie Bush’s family had loaned his rogue Heisman Trophy to a San Diego Museum.

San Diego Hall of Champions President Al Kidd and Reggie Bush

(SD Museum President Bailed On Displaying Bush Heisman Trophy)

On June 29 I reported that according to a source close to the Bush family, the now-disgraced, ex-USC Trojan had decided not to return his personal copy of the Heisman Trophy to the Heisman Trust. The next day the president of the museum in possession of the trophy, Al Kidd of the San Diego Hall of Champions, said he had “every intention” of displaying the trophy in a public exhibit.


Kidd has since had a change of heart.
Read more…

SD Museum Now Plans To Display Bush Heisman!

On June 7, Dan Patrick Show Executive Producer Paul Pabst reported that the Heisman Trophy Trust had repeatedly contacted Reggie Bush’s agent, Joel Segal, in a bid to have Bush’s personal version of the now-vacated 2005 Heisman Trophy returned. (Bush officially relinquished the award on Sept. 14, 2010.)

San Diego Hall of Champions President Al Kidd and Reggie Bush

(Bush, SDHOC President Calling Heisman Trophy Trust’s Bluff?)

Two days later, a San Diego sports museum executive reported to Pabst that the museum had been loaned Bush’s personal copy of the Heisman Trophy by Bush’s stepfather and mother on March 22 - but that the museum would soon return the rogue trophy to Lamar and Denise Griffin.

In Pabst’s June 9 post, he cited the following from San Diego Hall of Champions (SDHOC) Vice President Angela LaChica:

At the time the museum took possession of the trophy, they did not know the Heisman Foundation wanted the trophy back. ”We’ve had it here the past two months, since March 22, but we never displayed it. Some of our employees didn’t even know we had it,” La Chica said. The trophy is currently sitting in a back room in a box.

La Chica added that the museum is in the process of contacting Lamar and Denise Griffin to arrange return of the Heisman Trophy to the family.

Last night I reported that as of Wednesday evening, despite LaChica’s June 9 assurance of the trophy’s return to the Bush family, the SDHOC was still in possession of Bush’s Heisman. I also confirmed through a source close to Bush that the former USC star now had no intention of ever returning his personal copy of the award to the Heisman Trophy Trust.

Thursday morning while appearing on KLSD-AM in San Diego, SD Hall of Champions President Al Kidd confirmed that not only did the museum have no plans to return Bush’s Heisman Trophy to the Griffins or Bush himself, but that he had “every intention” of putting it on display as an official SDHOC exhibit.

Kidd to Chris Ello and Ben Higgins of KLSD radio Thursday: Read more…

Bush Betrays Heisman Trust, Won’t Return Trophy

On June 7 Dan Patrick Show Executive Producer Paul Pabst reported that nine months after the Heisman Trophy Trust decided to cancel Reggie Bush’s 2005 award, the former USC running back had not yet returned the actual trophy.


During those nine months, Pabst also noted that Heisman Trophy Trust officials had repeatedly contacted Reggie Bush’s agent Joel Segal in a bid to have the trophy returned, with a Heisman Trust source telling Pabst, “the whole world reasonably expected him to return it.

On June 9, Pabst reported that Bush stepfather Lamar Griffin and mother Denise Griffin had “loaned” the Heisman Trophy to the San Diego Hall of Champions on March 22.

SDHOC Vice President Angela LaChica told Pabst at that time, “We’ve had it here the past two months, since March 22, but we never displayed it. Some of our employees didn’t even know we had it.

On June 9, James Varney of the NEW ORLEANS TIMES-PICAYUNE reported:

While the (SDHOC) museum has not been displaying the Heisman while its exhibits are remodeled, she (LaChica) said the trophy remains in its collection. Talks with Bush and members of his immediate family are under way for the return of the trophy, LaChica said.

I can confirm that as of Wednesday evening, Bush’s Heisman Trophy remains in storage at the San Diego Hall of Champions, despite the fact that Bush was actually in San Diego last weekend to host an extremely low-profile football camp bearing his name and appear at a cancer research benefit.

A source close to Bush told me late Wednesday that the NFL running back, his stepfather and mother also ran into SD Hall of Champions executive LaChica at an event during Bush’s brief San Diego stay, but that the SDHOC was no closer to returning the Heisman Trophy to Bush or his family.

Why?

The same source said Bush has decided he will not return the Heisman Trophy to the Heisman Trophy Trust.

I was told Bush and the Griffins “loaned” the trophy to the San Diego Hall of Champions to get it off their hands for the time being, treating the local museum as a safe deposit box of sorts. When Bush’s disgraced reputation eventually fades from everyday life, which if Bush’s recent, media-free SD weekend was any indication may have already happened, the Griffins will retake personal possession of the sacred bronze object to do with it what they please.

So when Bush acknowledged what was obviously a forced forfeiture of his 2005 Heisman Trophy, we now know it was absolutely no coincidence that the ex-USC football player released a carefully-crafted statement through his agent Joel Segal that gave no indication that the now-disgraced former Trojan would actually honor the Heisman Trophy Trust’s subsequent, repeated requests for him to return the trophy itself:

For Immediate Release: September 14, 2010

One of the greatest honors of my life was winning the Heisman Trophy in 2005. For me, it was a dream come true.

But I know that the Heisman is not mine alone. Far from it. I know that my victory was made possible by the discipline and hard work of my teammates, the steady guidance of my coaches, the inspiration of the fans, and the unconditional love of my family and friends. And I know that any young man fortunate enough to win the Heisman enters into a family of sorts. Each individual carries the legacy of the award and each one is entrusted with its good name.

It is for these reasons that I have made the difficult decision to forfeit my title as Heisman winner of 2005. The persistent media speculation regarding allegations dating back to my years at USC has been both painful and distracting. In no way should the storm around these allegations reflect in any way on the dignity of this award, nor on any other institutions or individuals. Nor should it distract from outstanding performances and hard-earned achievements either in the past, present or future.

For the rest of my days, I will continue to strive to demonstrate through my actions and words that I was deserving of the confidence placed in me by the Heisman Trophy Trust. I would like to begin in this effort by turning a negative situation into a positive one by working with the Trustees to establish an educational program which will assist student-athletes and their families avoid some of the mistakes that I made. I am determined to view this event as an opportunity to help others and to advance the values and mission of the Heisman Trophy Trust.

I will forever appreciate the honor bestowed upon me as a winner of the Heisman. While this decision is heart-breaking, I find solace in knowing that the award was made possible by the support and love of so many. Those are gifts that can never be taken away.

On Sept. 16, 2010, two days after he released the above statement, Bush said his stepfather Lamar Griffin and mother Denise Griffin did not want him to return the Heisman Trophy:

“Mostly everybody didn’t agree with me … My mom and dad didn’t want me to give it back. But that’s just the motherly and fatherly nature of parents. But they understand at the end of the day. They understand that I am a grown man, and I’ve got to make my own decisions. This is a learning experience for me and for anybody else coming after me. All I can do is grow stronger from here and just focus on this football season.”

The same “motherly and fatherly nature” of Bush’s parents produced an extreme set of major NCAA violations that buried the USC football program with the worst NCAA sanctions seen since the SMU football program was dealt the Death Penalty in 1986.

The same “motherly and fatherly nature” that has now caused a “grown man” who Bush claimed in 2010 “makes his own decisions” to apparently have a change of heart about returning the Heisman Trophy.

Or if his official statement is to be believed, perhaps Bush never had any intention of returning the Heisman Trophy.

More Bush from Sept. 16, 2010:

“This is just a part of growing pains and learning and becoming more mature. You learn, you grow, you get better, you get stronger. And hopefully you never make those mistakes again.”

Mistakes?

Moments earlier during the same impromptu press conference, Bush said of returning the Heisman Trophy:

“This is definitely not an admission of guilt.”

Bush is nothing if not consistent.

After hiding from NCAA investigators for three years, in an interview with the NCAA in 2009 Bush reportedlydenied that he and his family took nearly $300,000 in extra benefits during his sophomore and junior seasons at USC.

On Page 2 of the NCAA’s June 10, 2010, University of Southern California Public Infractions Report that dropped crippling sanctions on Bush’s former USC football program, the NCAA documented the lack of cooperation in its investigation of USC by Bush’s stepfather Lamar Griffin, Bush’s mother Denise Griffin and Bush himself:

“[This case] is incomplete because a number of key witnesses, including the athlete at the center of these allegations [Bush], refused to cooperate in whole or sufficient measure.

“In addition, the family of student-athlete 1 [Bush], whose actions were at the center of this investigation, refused to cooperate. Nevertheless, credible evidence was produced and corroborated, which supported the allegations that student-athlete 1 [Bush] and his family and friends and his associates took benefits from professional sports agents and/or persons who acted on behalf of these agents. In the case of student-athlete 1 [Bush], he, his family and friends received benefits valued at many thousands of dollars.”

Thanks to documents, receipts, audio tapes and on-the-record interviews, the NCAA irrefutably verified that not only did Bush and stepfather Lamar Griffin accept hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits, but that both actively sought out those benefits and did all they could to keep their improper deals secret.

It is also now confirmed on-the-record that had Bush paid back the $300,000 he stole from San Diego-based marketing agent Lloyd Lake, the marketing agent would’ve never contacted Yahoo Sports and the NCAA.

And USC’s NCAA problems would have never existed.

On June 7, 2011, Dan Patrick Show Executive Producer Paul Pabst reported of Bush’s refusal to return the Heisman Trophy:

The source at the Heisman Trophy Trust told us that there was no specific agreement with Reggie Bush to return the trophy, but that it was “alluded to in Reggie’s statement and the whole world reasonably expected him to return it.”

The Heisman Trust source added that they had been in touch with Bush’s agent “more than once” about the status of returning the trophy. Also, Bush would not even have to pay for shipping. The Heisman Trust would send him a case for the Heisman Trophy, with shipping paid for.

On Sept. 6, 2006, Reggie Bush appeared on HBO for an interview with Bob Costas and said of rampant allegations that he and his family committed a single NCAA violation:

“We’re completely innocent in this whole thing. As I said from the get-go, once everything comes out everyone will see that we didn’t do anything and that we’re actually the victims here.”

Since Bush will never be held remotely accountable to societal rules you and I are required to follow, it turns out Bush was indeed right all along.

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Ducks Dare NCAA With Seastrunk, Opposite Day

Spring Practice got underway this week in Eugene.

Willie Lyles, Lache Seastrunk, Oregon Invoice To Lyles for $25,000

(What, Chip Can’t Afford To Cash Out?)

The good news for Oregon is that - as Ken Goe of the PORTLAND OREGONIAN reported Tuesday - after a disappointing freshman redshirt, Lache Seastrunk has been impressive this week during drills.

Or is that bad news? (That is, that Seastrunk is even on the field.)

According to Oregon Coach Chip Kelly it’s definitely the former.

On March 3, the same day Oregon confirmed it had paid $25,000 to the one-person “recruiting service” run by Seastrunk “mentor” Willie Lyles, Kelly told John Canzano of the Oregonian: We’ve done nothing wrong.”

So why then did Kelly and Oregon fork over $25,000 to Lyles, who went from not knowing Seastrunk before he became a college football prospect to reportedly living with Seastrunk?

The above invoice for the transaction confirmed Oregon was to receive “Game Film and Highlight Film” from 22 states - including Oregon.

But when Kelly was asked by Canzano what Oregon got for its 25 large, Kelly said, “names and phone numbers.”

The payment to Lyles, subsequent discrepancy over services rendered and Lyles’ “Complete Scouting Service” falling well short of NCAA “recruiting service” guidelines soon drew a visit from NCAA investigators to Eugene.

That visit though may now be an extended NCAA stay after a March 13 FOXSports.com piece by Thayer Evans detailing longtime Oregon assistant coach Gary Campbell’s relationship with Lyles in Texas.

In an article titled “Is Lyles most powerful street agent?“, Evans reported that Lyles accompanied Ducks assistant Campbell to at least two Texas High Schools - Clear Springs High School and Dekaney High School - while Campbell was recruiting football players for the Ducks in 2010. Evans:

Campbell said he did visit high schools with Lyles, but doesn’t recall how often.

Campbell on Lyles:

“I just don’t understand what the big deal about this scouting service and paying Will is all about.

“I don’t think Will did anything wrong. I mean, I know he didn’t do anything wrong with us because he knew that we weren’t going to do anything outside of the rules.”

Apparently Campbell is unaware of the NCAA’s criteria for a booster, or “representative of the institution’s athletics interests” (NCAA bylaw 13.02.14):

an individual, independent agency, corporate entity (e.g., apparel or equipment manufacturer) or other organization who is known (or who should have been known) by a member of the institution’s executive or athletics administration to:

(c) Be assisting or to have been requested (by the athletics department staff) to assist in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes;

Again, keep in mind that before Seastrunk was known as a high school football prospect, Lyles had no prior relationship with him or his family.

If Campbell isn’t aware of the rules governing recruiting, it wouldn’t be the first time. The Oregonian reported last January:

The lone blemish on Campbell’s reputation was his 2003 interaction with junior-college running back J.J. Arrington, who had committed to California but was wavering back toward Oregon. In Campbell’s presence, Arrington signed with the Ducks after the midnight deadline, forging his father’s signature. The NCAA gave Oregon two years’ probation.

“It was a mistake,” Campbell said.

But Oregon stood by him, as he had the Ducks for so long. He so appreciates his coworkers’ longevity that if the Ducks’ coaching staff ever fractures or moves to another program, Campbell said, he might just retire.

The verification of the forgery caused Arrington to subsequently sign with Cal and landed Oregon in hot water with the NCAA.

Speaking of (in this case, alleged) undue influence over recruits, Oregon starting quarterback Darron Thomas said of Lyles in another FOXSports.com piece:

“He brings a lot of Texas to this team — a guy that Coach Chip Kelly and them out there now recruiting in Texas a lot. Like I said, he’s a big recruiting guy just leading guys.”

Oregon star LaMichael James on Lyles in the same story:

He’s very influential to me and I know to Lache and just different players.”

For all we know Lyles is a good egg who had no design on personal gain when he struck up a relationship with Seastrunk and his mother. The fact that those relationships happened only after Seastrunk became a major college football prospect, and that Lyles has subsequently moved out of the Seastrunk home and cut off his relationship with Seastrunk’s mother after her son signed with Oregon may be complete coincidence.

Like the $25,000 from Oregon to Lyles right after Seastrunk signed with the school was only for “Game Film and Highlight Film.” (Or was it “names and phone numbers“?)

But as Lyles visited multiple Texas high schools with Campbell, by NCAA rules he’s defined as a booster who is forbidden any contact with Oregon recruits.

NCAA bylaw 13.1.2 (Page 96) on what constitutes a “Permissible Recruiter”:

All in-person correspondence on and off campus recruiting contacts with prospective student-athlete or the prospective student-athlete’s relatives or legal guardians shall be made only by authorized institutional staff members. Such contact, as well as correspondence and telephone calls, by representatives of an institution’s athletics interests is prohibited.

There are some exceptions to that rule, but Lyles doesn’t fulfill any of them.

Lyles and Oregon have already violated the booster-contact rule thanks to Lyles’ relationship with both Seastrunk and assistant coach Campbell. Campbell confirmed the violation himself to FOXSports.com with his comments to Thayer Evans.

That violation would not, unto itself, render Seastrunk ineligible. But we’re now to the point with Oregon where the circumstantial evidence is impossible to ignore: Read more…

Bush’s Only Biggest Defenders: Jaworski, Gruden

Last night on ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast, play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico asked ESPN NFL analysts Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski what they thought of Reggie Bush forfeiting his Heisman Trophy last week.

Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden

Despite Bush being ruled ineligible by the NCAA for the 2005 season, which retroactively violated a Heisman Trophy bylaw required of a Heisman winner, both said it was unfortunate that Bush had to return the 2005 award.

Ron Jaworski on Bush giving back the Heisman:

“I think it’s (giving back the Heisman) the wrong thing to do. He won the Heisman with his play on the field. I know there was a lot of pressure on him. He wanted to put this behind him.

He decided to give the trophy back but he earned that trophy. When is the Heisman suppose to be an enforcement agency for the scholar athletes or student athletes? He won the award, he should keep it.”

Jon Gruden on Bush giving back the Heisman: Read more…

Former USC Asst. Snaps: Calls Bush “An Idiot”

Friday, finally, we got an appropriately exasperated reaction from a member of the 2005 USC coaching staff to Reggie Bush’s handling of the recent forfeiture of the Heisman Trophy. And that reaction didn’t come from just any member of that staff.

Steve Sarkisian calls Reggie Bush an idiot, again

University of Washington head football coach Steve Sarkisian was assisant head coach and co-offensive coordinator of the USC Trojans in 2005, the year Reggie Bush won the Heisman Trophy at USC.

Friday Sarkisian said of Bush, who Thursday asserted that his returning of the Heisman Trophy was “not an admission of guilt“: Read more…

Bush: Returning Heisman ‘Not Admission Of Guilt’

Reggie Bush spoke to the New Orleans media after Saints practice today and further addressed his forfeiting the Heisman Trophy earlier this week.

(Audio of Bush comments below)

When asked if relinquishing the award was an “admission of guilt”, Bush said:

“It’s definitely not an admission of guilt. It’s me showing my respect to the Heisman Trophy and to the people who come before me and the people who come after me. You’re going to keep hearing the same thing because that’s what it is. It’s not an admission of guilt it’s me feeling like this is the best thing for me and the Heisman Trust right now.”

Bush added that his mother and stepfather, Denise and LaMar Griffin, did not want him to return the Heisman Trophy.

“It’s the motherly and fatherly nature of parents. But they understand at the end of the day. That I’m a grown man and I got to make my own decisions and this is a learning experience and for anybody else coming after me.”

It was Bush’s mother and stepfather who, by the use of a San Diego home provided by sports marketing agent Michael Michaels, rendered Bush retroactively ineligible for the 2005 USC football season. Read more…

Heisman Winner Took NFL’s $10K While At LSU

On Monday Reggie Bush forfeited his Heisman Trophy four years after the revelation that he took extra benefits from two marketing agents while still at USC.

Billy Cannon took $10,500 from NFL team while still at LSU

It’s reasonable to surmise that Bush gave up the 2005 award because he was made aware or had a strong suspicion that he was going to be stripped of it anyway. We were all tipped off to that distinct possibility by a recent Yahoo Sports report asserting that Bush would be “relieved” of the Heisman before September was out.

As part of that prophetic report, Yahoo noted that the Heisman Trophy Trust used the following criteria to decide that it would strip Bush of the award:

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.

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.

Never in the history of the award has the trust been forced to retroactively rule on the eligibility of a past winner.

So Bush was effectively stripped of the Heisman Trophy because he tarnished the reputation of the award by taking extra benefits from an agent while at USC - rendering him retroactively ineligible for the Heisman.

With that as the Heisman Trust’s criteria for stripping Bush of the 2005 honor, why hasn’t 1959 Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon had his award take away?

Thanks to 1960 California federal court records, it’s an acknowledged fact that Cannon fulfills the same criteria that the Heisman Trust used to, for all intents and purposes, revoke Bush’s award. Read more…

Reggie Bush Officially Gives Up Heisman Trophy

Reggie Bush released a statement on the New Orleans Saints website confirming today that he is giving up his 2005 Heisman Trophy.

Reggie Bush in 2006: He did nothing wrong

One of the greatest honors of my life was winning the Heisman Trophy in 2005. For me, it was a dream come true.

But I know that the Heisman is not mine alone. Far from it. I know that my victory was made possible by the discipline and hard work of my teammates, the steady guidance of my coaches, the inspiration of the fans, and the unconditional love of my family and friends. And I know that any young man fortunate enough to win the Heisman enters into a family of sorts. Each individual carries the legacy of the award and each one is entrusted with its good name.

It is for these reasons that I have made the difficult decision to forfeit my title as Heisman winner of 2005. The persistent media speculation regarding allegations dating back to my years at USC has been both painful and distracting. In no way should the storm around these allegations reflect in any way on the dignity of this award, nor on any other institutions or individuals. Nor should it distract from outstanding performances and hard-earned achievements either in the past, present or future. Read more…

Vince Young On ‘05 Heisman: “I definitely want it”

Jim Wyatt of the NASHVILLE TENNESSEAN reports that Vince Young has finally weighed in on the record about his stance on the 2005 Heisman Trophy.

Last week, Young was asked twice if he’d be interested in being awarded the 2005 trophy if the Heisman Trust decides to strip Bush of the honor. Wyatt reports that both times Young refused comment.

Monday, Young made his thoughts known about the situation.
Read more…