The Heisman trophy is a prestigious honor given to outstanding college football players. In 2005, Reggie Bush, then a USC football player, was given the award. Now it appears that Bush, a New Orleans Saint, could be stripped of this honor.
As indicated by Report: Reggie Bush to Be Stripped of Heisman, “the NCAA found major violations in USC’s football program” and charged the school with stern “sanctions” this June. While no decision has been made, the investigation is almost complete and the buzz is “Bush was ineligible during the ’05 season.” According to damego.com, his ineligibility may stem from taking gifts and other benefits during his time with USC.
Bush’s case resembles a similar controversy that surrounded Zinedine Zidane, a renowned French soccer player. There’s no doubt that Zidane was a great soccer player. Yet, during the final world Cup Game in 2006, there was an “argument” between Zidane and Italian defender Marco Materazzi. During a heated word exchange, Zidane head-butted Materazzi. According to Blatter says Zidane could lose MVP award, it was this scandal that caused FIFA to look into “Zidane’s behavior” and decide whether or not he deserved the Golden Ball award or the MVP of the World Cup. The ballot box used to determine the Golden Ball winner was open both before and after the head-butting incident. In the end, Zidane kept the Golden Ball.
Other college-level athletes have had their fair share of controversy. According to Georgia Basketball No Stranger to Academic Scandal, the University of Georgia found that several of their basketball players had received “fraudulent” credits. Tony Cole, Chris Daniels, Rashad Wright and others were given credits for a class they did not attend. Jim Harrick Jr. taught the class. However, it was Georgia coach Jim Harrick who got most of the media attention and resigned. In addition, the Bulldogs were restricted “from playing in the SEC and NCAA tournaments.”
Then, of course, there was the incident where Michael Vick was given the Ed Block Courage Award. According to Michael Vick Wins Courage Award, this award was given to Vick after spending 18 months in prison for his involvement in dog fighting. Even though this was after the scandal, groups like PETA condemned the Philadelphia Eagles for voting for Vick. The Ed Block Award is given to “players who exemplify commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.” Vick’s teammates believed that he was well deserving of this.
Indeed, although there are some awesome athletes out there, character is important too. One athlete with tremendous character was John W. Heisman. According to heisman.com, Heisman was a dedicated player, studier and coach of the game. During his first coaching job, he led the Oberlin College football team to victory in “all of its seven games in only the second year of the football program.” He also was responsible for founding the National Football Coaches Association and helped to legalize “the forward pass.” Heisman was influential enough to have a trophy named after him. Although some may argue that this award is based on great football players, it seems appropriate that all candidates be worthy of the award, in both ability and integrity. But at what point does a person lose their integrity? In Zidane’s case, a head-butt didn’t take away from the fact that he was an awesome soccer player.
So far, in the 75 years of its existence, the Heisman Trophy has never been taken away from any recipient. Now it’s up to the Heisman Trophy Trust to decide if Bush should keep the Heisman, about five years after he received it.
Associated Press Report: Reggie Bush to Be Stripped of Heisman abcnews.go.com
Associated Press Blatter says Zidane could lose MVP award nbcsports.msnbc.com
Georgia Basketball No Stranger to Academic Scandal abcnews.go.com
Michael Vick Wins Courage Award newsone.com
Reggie Bush Scandal Causes Him to Lose Heisman Trophy damego.com