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USC adds some, loses one in re-marking history

Reggie Bush's Heisman Trophy is removed from Heritage Hall, as athletic department goes about qualifying all references in media guide that pertain to the two-year period covered by NCAA sanctions.

July 21, 2010|By David Wharton

While the lobby of USC's athletic department now lacks one very prominent Heisman Trophy, the media guide for next season's football team will include something extra.

Asterisks. Lots of them.

The university must qualify every winning score, every statistic and every mention of former tailback Reggie Bush that pertain to the two-year period covered by recent NCAA sanctions.

All those asterisks will be followed by some form of the phrase "later vacated due to NCAA penalty."

"The media guide will have about 100 asterisks in it," said Tim Tessalone, a department spokesman who prepares the annual publication.

By Wednesday morning, Bush's Heisman had been removed from Heritage Hall, incoming university President Max Nikias making good on his promise to eliminate all prominent reminders of the tarnished former star.

The Heisman Trophy Trust did not move as swiftly in deciding whether Bush will remain the official winner for the 2005 season.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the New York organization's president, William Dockery, said that "due to the complex issues involved and the Trust's desire to reach an appropriate decision, no timetable has been established. Until the matter has been fully considered and a decision is reached, the Trust has no further comment."

Bush's agent and attorney could not be reached for comment.

The NCAA recently placed USC on four years' probation after finding that Bush and former basketball star O.J. Mayo received improper benefits. For the football team, that meant a two-year postseason ban and major scholarship reductions.

The NCAA also found violations in connection with women's tennis.

The university, which replaced Athletic Director Mike Garrett with former quarterback Pat Haden on Tuesday, has filed an appeal to have the penalties reduced.

As of Wednesday, the championship and bowl trophies won by the football team during the 2004 and 2005 seasons remained in place.

But with the 2010 football media guide headed for the printer earlier this month, officials had to make quick decisions on how to deal with the seasons in question.

Tessalone said the NCAA advised him not to delete the standings and statistics, merely to add notations.

So USC's historical record is listed as 775 victories, 307 losses and 54 ties. An asterisk leads to a note explaining that 14 of those wins were later vacated, making the revised record 761-307-54.

Vacated wins do not count as losses.

The notations grow more numerous when it comes to individual seasons. In 2005, for example, each winning score, the overall record and the mention of a Pacific 10 Conference championship have asterisks.

There is also a mark beside Bush's name where he is listed as a team captain.

The Trojans' 2004 national championship will feature no such glyph. The Associated Press recently said it will let its version of the title stand and Bowl Championship Series officials have yet to decide.

But the guide will add a note to every relevant game, season and career record Bush set as a Trojan. According to the NCAA guidelines, he is still listed as the school's seventh-leading career rusher.

With an asterisk.

Bush also is prominently featured among the football program's Heisman Trophy winners. That could change in the 2011 guide if Heisman officials decide to strip him of the award.

In the meantime, Tessalone must set about preparing the men's basketball and women's tennis guides — with more asterisks.

david.wharton@latimes.com

twitter.com/LATimesWharton

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