Right Field

Blame Bush (and Mayo)

The L.A. Times reports on the multimillion-dollar costs to USC of the Reggie Bush and O. J. Mayo scandals:

The victories, and a national championship they produced, are vacated. The trophies — a copy of Reggie Bush’s Heisman statuette and a crystal football for a Bowl Championship Series title — are now ghosts of Heritage Hall.

The forfeiture of those wins and mementos is just a fraction of what USC lost in the wake of some of the harshest penalties in college sports history — delivered largely because the NCAA found numerous violations relating to Bush. The Trojans men’s basketball program also was punished for violations related to former star player O.J. Mayo, and the school actually paid some of that in cash: a $5,000 fine and the return of $206,200 it received for participation in the 2008 NCAA tournament. No part of what USC’s football program has lost can be itemized in such a straightforward way, making any attempt to tally Bush’s financial impact a daunting task. Unlike public universities with budgets and expenditures open to review, USC, as a private school, is not required to make its budgets and expenses available.

“I can’t quantify monetary damages,” Athletic Director Pat Haden said. This much is clear: The football price tag already runs well into the tens of millions in lost bowl appearances, sagging attendance, attorney fees and other direct and ancillary costs.

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