Trojans clean house, tossing out AD Garrett, Bush’s Heisman
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.
USC will return Reggie Bush’s award to the Heisman Trophy Trust next month.