Due to violations Reggie Bush forfeited the Heisman Trophy (and by “forfeited” I mean Bush gave it to them before they took it from him). There has been debate over what should happen to the Heisman Trophy. Some think that the player that finished second, Vince Young, should receive the Heisman but the Heisman committee chose to leave the 2005 Heisman Trophy vacant. There are five reasons this was a good decision.
1) Who Gets Bush’s Votes?
Theoretically if the first place winner is removed then an award should go to second place but that isn’t necessarily the case. Let’s say the voters were told to vote again but this time Bush is ineligible. Just because Vince Young finished second doesn’t mean that all those voters would vote for Vince. Maybe with Bush out of the picture they vote for the other USC player, Matt Leinart, instead.
When Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 he broke the glass ceiling for sophomores. In 2008 and 2009 sophomores were chosen again and nobody even batted an eye. Sophomores as the Heisman just became acceptable after Tebow. If voters were to choose the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner again then maybe an underclassmen gets more votes. Underclassmen in 2005 included Adrian Peterson, Darren McFadden, Steve Slaton, Mike Hart, Colt Brennan, Ray Rice, Ian Johnson, Dwayne Jarrett, Calvin Johnson, Chase Daniel and Pat White.
3) Small Schools
Another way college football has changed is that over the past few years teams like Boise State and TCU are getting notoriety when they used to be an afterthought. Kellen Moore will get a lot of consideration for the Heisman if Boise State goes undefeated and if people cared about the Broncos as much in 2005 as they did today then Ian Johnson could be a Heisman candidate.
4) We Are the Champions
Let’s turn the clock back to 2005 and say that Reggie Bush’s violations are made known and USC in ineligible to play in the National Championship. Instead Vince Young’s Longhorns would play Penn State and the Heisman committee loves voting for the best player on a contender. That would likely be Paul Posluszny, who wouldn’t have a great shot as a defensive player, but he could take just enough votes away from Vince Young to change where he finishes in the voting.
5) For Shame
The best reason to leave the Heisman Trophy vacant is to shame Reggie Bush. To give the Heisman to Vince Young would let Reggie Bush off the hook. If Young had the Heisman then his name would forever be placed in between Matt Leinart and Troy Smith on a list of Heisman winners. Instead that spot will be blank. It will forever be a reminder that for the first time in the history of the Heisman Trophy there is no winner because Reggie Bush cheated.