Tro­jans clean house, toss­ing out AD Gar­rett, Bush’s Heis­man

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

LOS AN­GE­LES — South­ern Cal­i­for­nia is clean­ing house in its tar­nished ath­letic depart­ment, throw­ing out much of what got the school in se­vere NCAA trou­ble.

Ath­letic di­rec­tor Mike Gar­rett and Reg­gie Bush’s Heis­man Tro­phy are the first two items to go.

In a let­ter to school sup­port­ers Tues­day, in­com­ing USC pres­i­dent Max Nikias said Gar­rett will be re­placed Aug. 3 by Pat Haden, a for­mer Tro­jans quar­ter­back who be­came a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man and a mem­ber of USC’s board of trustees. The school also will re­turn its copy of Bush’s tro­phy to the Heis­man Trust, among sev­eral mea­sures to dis­as­so­ci­ate it­self from the tainted tail­back.

The NCAA cited Gar­rett’s ad­min- is­tra­tion for a lack of in­sti­tu­tional con­trol while slap­ping the school with heavy sanc­tions last month, but Haden be­lieves he can change the cul­ture.

“We’re go­ing to do bet­ter,” said Haden, also the color an­a­lyst on NBC’s Notre Dame broad­casts for the past decade. “We have to do bet-

Con­tin­ued from C ter. We don’t have any choices here. We stub our toe, there’s go­ing to be some prob­lems.”

USC was hit with four years of pro­ba­tion, a two-year bowl ban and se­vere foot­ball schol­ar­ship re­stric­tions af­ter the NCAA found rules vi­o­la­tions in the ath­letic depart­ment, pri­mar­ily around the foot­ball and men’s bas­ket­ball teams. Most in­volved il­le­gal ben­e­fits for Bush and bas­ket­ball player O.J. Mayo.

Haden said the school’s plan to get rid of nearly all ref­er­ences to Bush and Mayo — right down to scrub­bing their im­ages from school mu­rals and re­mov­ing Bush’s No. 5 jersey in its place of honor in the lobby of Her­itage Hall — are all part of the NCAA’s di­rec­tive to dis­as­so­ci­ate the school from the ath­letes.

Gar­rett has been the Tro­jans’ ath­letic di­rec­tor for 17 years, but he re­ceived caus­tic crit­i­cism for his han­dling of USC’s scan­dals. The school didn’t say whether Gar­rett re­tired or had been fired.

Both Gar­rett and Haden are for­mer USC foot­ball play­ers. MVP hon­ors in the BCS cham­pi­onship game win over Texas. He knocked quar­ter­back Colt McCoy out of the game and re­turned an in­ter­cep­tion 28 yards for a touch­down.

NCAA in­ves­ti­ga­tors have re­port­edly in­ter­viewed North Carolina play­ers and South Carolina tight end Wes­lye Saun­ders re­gard­ing the same party in Mi­ami’s South Beach. The ESPN re­port said the NCAA is try­ing to de­ter­mine who paid for the trip.

Sa­ban, a for­mer Mi­ami Dol­phins coach, told ESPN.com it might be time to ban NFL teams from col­lege cam­puses to get the league to crack down on rule-break­ing agents and “take schools off the hook.”

“What the NFL Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion and the NFL need to do is if any agent breaks a rule and causes in­el­i­gi­bil­ity for a player, they should sus­pend his (agent’s) li­cense for a year or two,” Sa­ban said. “I’m about ready for col­lege foot­ball to say, ‘Let’s just throw the NFL out. Don’t let them eval­u­ate play­ers. Don’t let them talk to play­ers. Let them do it at the com­bine.’ If they are not go­ing to help us, why should we help them?”

South­east­ern Con­fer­ence Com­mis­sioner Mike Slive said this week that he wants the NCAA “to re-ex­am­ine some of the NCAA rules that re­late to agents.”

Florida is also re­port­edly in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­le­ga­tions that a sports agent’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive paid then-Ga­tors of­fen­sive line­man Mau­r­kice Pouncey $100,000 be­fore last sea­son ended.

Damian Do­var­ganes

USC will re­turn Reg­gie Bush’s award to the Heis­man Tro­phy Trust next month.

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