Thursday, June 3, 2010
Bush case on Heisman Trust's radar
By Joe Schad ESPN
The president of the Heisman Trophy Trust said Thursday that if former USC Trojans running back and Heisman winner Reggie Bush were to be ruled retroactively ineligible by the NCAA, a review of Bush's award could commence as early as Tuesday.
The NCAA committee on infractions will release its findings regarding both the USC football and men's basketball programs Friday, a source with knowledge of the situation recently told ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil.
"We have not discussed these issues yet because right now it's a hypothetical," said New York attorney William Dockery, the organization's president. "We are a charity organization run by pro bono trustees, so we focus our energies appropriately. But if and when [the NCAA] issues a decision we will review the underlying facts and possibly do our own investigation."
Dockery said the Heisman Trophy Trust, which has eight members, meets on the second Tuesday of every month. While the agenda for this month already has been set, Dockery said it could be adjusted.
When the Bush case came to light, there were nine members on the board. But the federal judge John E. Sprizzo died, leaving eight members, which is important to note because the Heisman Trophy Trust typically makes decisions based on a majority vote.
Dockery said, however, that in the instance of an extremely important decision, a "super-majority" vote could be required. This means that the board, which consists of lawyers, executives and even one prominent artist, likely would require six of eight votes to vacate Bush's trophy.
Dockery said Bush's charitable actions since leaving USC could be taken into consideration.
"Reggie Bush has been a model citizen and is a valued and contributing member of the New Orleans community," Dockery said Thursday. "He's done a lot for youth and funded charitable endeavors. So there are a lot of sides to every story. We're talking hypotheticals, so obviously everything has be in context. Our review would consider all aspects."
The Heisman Trophy Trust will look closely at what Bush was found by the NCAA to have individually done to violate NCAA rules, including whether he received extra benefits. On the Heisman Trophy ballot, it is stated that "the recipients must be in compliance with the bylaws defining an NCAA student athlete."
Joe Schad covers college football for ESPN.