State of the Game - The Reggie Bush Situation
Posted Aug 17, 2010

Preview 2010 - The State of the Game. Forgetting about the NCAA's rules, did Reggie Bush really do anything wrong?

Preview 2010 - State of the Game

The Reggie Bush Situation

State of the Game Topics
- Is Realignment A Plus?
- The SEC & The BCS
- What If Boise Goes 12-0?
- Are You Okay With the BCS Championship Result?
- Does The AP Title Matter?
- A $300 Bowl Gift vs. a $300 Handshake
- Did Reggie Bush Do Anything Wrong?
- How Should Offending Programs Be Punished?
- If You Could Make One Radical Change ...
- If You Could Make One Slight Change ...
- What Is Excessive Celebration?
- What's Your Favorite Non-Heisman Award

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Once again, we're extremely proud to get the thoughts from some of the top voices in the college football world in our annual State of the Game piece. Along with three CFN writers, check out the opinions on the key topics going into the 2010 season from legendary play-by-play man, Verne Lundquist, ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit, Ivan Maisel, Joe Schad, and Bruce Feldman, Dennis Dodd of, and the Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein.

8. Forgetting about the NCAA's rules, did Reggie Bush really do anything wrong?

Pete Fiutak, CFN : Yeah, he got caught.

Accepting "improper benefits" is as much a part of high-level collegiate athletics as cheerleaders, bands, mascots, and alumni who geek out over all three. Bush was sloppy, greedy, and showed poor judgment, and in the end, he was just plain selfish. Forgetting the NCAA's rules, no, Bush didn't do anything wrong. However, with the rules that are in place, he showed low character and a lack of moral fiber considering his position. If he was a backup punter and wasn't certain to make millions of dollars, then at least a point could be made that he was cashing out when he had the opportunity. But Bush jumped the gun when he didn't have to and now USC is paying the price.

Richard Cirminiello, CFN : Forgetting about the NCAA's rules? How can you divorce them from the debate? The fact that Bush knew the rules were in place, yet broke them anyway is precisely why he and USC should have been spanked. Just because you don't agree with a guideline doesn't give you a free pass to violate it. If that was the new litmus test between right and wrong, no one would ever pay a parking ticket or an increase in property taxes.

Matt Zemek, CFN: Yes. He has used other people - and USC itself - to advance his place and status in the college football world and (subsequently) as a professional athlete. He's climbed on the backs of a lot of human beings to enrich his wallet and marketability. He's shown no real remorse for what he's done to USC, even if one were to take the position that NCAA rules are garbage. He hasn't made due reparations to USC or acted in a responsible way. Bush has not yet done anything to duly compensate his school for troubles that he brought upon it. He's a narcissistic and very delusional young man right now.

Dennis Dodd, You have to believe, like me, that the vast majority of players still adhere by the rules. Reggie Bush was essentially a professional in 2004 and 2005. He competed while ineligible per NCAA rules. There's another argument here whether players should be paid. That's a different question. For now, Bush violated the rules to such an extent it was insult to the other players on his team who weren't getting money, trips and houses. Now Trojans of a different generation are paying for his sins.

Bruce Feldman, I don't think you can forget the NCAA rules. It's part of the deal as a college athlete at this point, and theoretically other great players aren't allowed to be taken care of the way he and his family was.

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune: Yup. He got caught. Seriously, he did jeopardize his school. Couldn't he have waited one or two more years to cash in?

Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN : Of course he did!!!! He broke the rules. End of story. This isn't about whether or not he deserved those gifts. It's about him breaking the rules and acting selfishly. If what the NCAA says they discovered in their research then to me Reggie should have his Heisman taken away from him and he should be eliminated from both the USC and NCAA record books. To not only punish Reggie, but to more importantly, send a loud message to the next potential guy who thinks he can break the rules, too.

Verne Lundquist, CBS : I'd like to get an assist in answering the question regarding Reggie Bush and the NCAA rules from any significant philosopher of your choosing. It's hard for me to forget that there are NCAA rules and that Reggie Bush broke them. There may be a hazy ethical divide in this case between what is right and what is wrong but were a judge to consider the evidence in order to determine what is legal and what is illegal, there's no doubt in my mind that Mr. Bush would be found guilty. In other words, I believe he knew that what he was doing was wrong.

Ivan Maisel, You can't forget about the NCAA rules. Those are the rules under which he agreed to play. If he and/or his family took extra benefits, then he should be subject to the penalties according to those rules. He signed his name to a piece of paper saying that he would play by those rules. Man up. Accept the responsibility. If you don't want to play by those rules, don't sign your name to a piece of paper saying you will play by those rules. It's funny. As the parent of three teenagers, I have a much greater belief than I once did in the power of being responsible and living up to commitments that you make.

Joe Schad, ESPN : Reggie Bush believed he was above it all, which is never good. Bush believed - I would think - that he was deserving of whatever was coming his way and his family's way. He put his program and his legacy in jeopardy and that was a selfish decision that can't be chalked up to his age. Bush was a smart, savvy student-athlete. He was not a professional athlete, but in his mind I believe he felt like he was.