Trust board should give award to ex-Horn

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - KIRK BOHLS

The eight-per­son Heis­man Trust board will meet next week to de­ter­mine not if Reg­gie Bush was the best player in col­lege foot­ball in 2005, but whether the South­ern Cal run­ning back should keep his award sig­ni­fy­ing him as such.

The an­swer is a clear and re­sound­ing no, in both cases.

Vince Young was bet­ter that sea­son, as he ul­ti­mately proved on that Jan­uary night in Pasadena when Texas also won the na­tional cham­pi­onship. He should re­ceive the tro­phy retroac­tively be­cause Bush de­serves to be stripped of the honor af­ter not up­hold­ing the val­ues and ideals that the most pres­ti­gious award in all of sports em­bod­ies.

Con­sider this my pub­lic apol­ogy No. 3,527 since I voted Bush ahead of Young on my Heis­man bal­lot — as did 784 of the 925 vot­ers that year. I was un­duly swayed by Bush’s elec­tri­fy­ing per­for­mance on the field that sea­son, pro scouts’ con­stant sali­vat­ing over his NFL po­ten­tial, Young’s rare, poor per­for­mance in his fi­nal game as a sort of tie-

breaker and a staunch com­mit­ment to avoid re­gional bias. And I was wrong. I will add that I am not con­vinced Texas would have beaten USC had Vince won the Heis­man. In my en­tire ca­reer, I have never wit­nessed an ath­lete more mo­ti­vated to cor­rect what he con­sid­ered a grave in­jus­tice. You could al­most see the steam em­a­nat­ing from his ears.

With­out his run­ner-up fin­ish, Young might have lost a bit of his ex­tra edge and in­cen­tive, and the Tro­jans might not have been as over­con­fi­dent as they were had they been pre­par­ing to face Mr. Heis­man.

Bush should lose his Heis­man be­cause he was deemed an in­el­i­gi­ble player af­ter ac­cept­ing ex­tra ben­e­fits. His school al­ready has been or­dered to dis­as­so­ci­ate it­self from him, so the Heis­man Trust’s course of ac­tion seems pretty clear if it wants to re­store its cred­i­bil­ity.

For those who sug­gest the Heis­man folks should merely va­cate the award and act as if the sea­son never hap­pened, I say: to what end? What would that achieve? It might not mean the same to Vince now as it would have 4½ years ago, but he’d for­ever be known as a Heis­man win­ner.

For­get the as­ter­isk. He’d get over the snub ev­ery time he looks at the 25-pound pa­per­weight.

Hey, The As­so­ci­ated Press re-voted to give Tex­ans linebacker Brian Cush­ing — ahem, an­other USC ex — the NFL’s de­fen­sive rookie of the year award af­ter his sus­pen­sion for per­for­mance en­hancers, so there is some prece­dent. I’d fa­vor a Heis­man re-vote over sim­ply va­cat­ing the tro­phy.

But, in truth, no re-vote should be nec­es­sary. Just give the thing to Vince. Be­sides, we know how Vince can get when he’s mad.

Reg­gie Bush should be stripped of col­lege foot­ball’s high­est honor.

Julie Ja­cob­son

South­ern Cal tail­back Reg­gie Bush, right, hugs Tro­jans quar­ter­back Matt Leinart while Texas quar­ter­back Vince Young looks on af­ter Bush was an­nounced as the 2005 Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner.

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