USC Coach Pete Carroll, with quarterback Matt Leinart by his side, lofts… (Marc Serota / Associated…)
USC football met the inevitable Monday when the Bowl Championship Series officially stripped the Trojans of their 2004 football national title.
"This was not an unexpected outcome," USC Athletic Director Pat Haden said in a statement. "We will comply with all requirements mandated by this result of the BCS vote."
USC's title will be vacated, the trophy will be returned. No replacement champion will be crowned even though Auburn and Utah finished undefeated that season. The Associated Press long ago announced it would not strip USC of its 2004 trophy.
USC effectively lost its BCS crown late last June when the school announced its appeal to NCAA sanctions levied earlier in the month.
The key moment came June 25, 2010, when the school asked the Infractions Appeals Committee to overturn "certain" findings.
"The university recognizes that violations of rules did occur," Todd Dickey, the school's senior vice president of administration, said that day.
USC did not dispute that Reggie Bush was an ineligible player in 2004, so it was only a matter of when USC's 55-19 championship win over Oklahoma in the 2005 Orange Bowl would ultimately be vacated.
USC's appeal had no impact on the BCS decision. USC, had it won, still would have forfeited its 2004 title.
The BCS elected not to make the announcement official until USC had exhausted the appeals process. The Trojans asked the NCAA to reduce the bowl ban from two years to one and cut in half the loss of 30 scholarships.
After the NCAA's announcement that it had rejected USC's appeal on May 26, the BCS scheduled a meeting of its Presidential Oversight Committee.
The trophy USC loses is presented by the American Football Coaches Assn., which is contractually obligated to crown the winner of BCS title game.
The AP has crowned an independent champion since 1936. Its poll was once part of the BCS formula even though it crowned USC as No. 1 in 2003 instead of Louisiana State, which defeated Oklahoma in the BCS title game.
The AP also crowned USC champion in 2004 but asked out of the BCS formula after that season.