Matt Schrader of the USC School of Journalism reports today that in a USC press release announcing the hiring of Athletic Director Pat Haden today, USC President-elect Max Nikias has, “ordered the removal of sports references to basketball player O.J. Mayo and football star Reggie Bush.”
(Bush’s Heisman will be removed from Heritage Hall)
“I have instructed the senior vice president for administration to remove athletic jerseys and murals displayed in recognition of O.J. Mayo and Reggie Bush by mid-August — before the incoming class of students moves on campus — from Heritage Hall, the Galen Center, and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Nikias also said Reggie Bush’s 2005 Heisman Trophy will be revoked and returned to the Heisman Trophy Trust in August.
“Our Trojan student-athletes are indeed student first and foremost; thus the USC experience must ensure that they are nourished by and beholden to the noblest values of the academy and of society,” he said.
“USC will move forward, guided by the best withing our athletic and academic heritage.”
While the NCAA ordered USC to disassociate itself with Bush and Mayo as part of a recent report outlining athletic sanctions against the school, it was not made immediately clear if USC would be required to remove Bush’s Heisman Trophy from display at Heritage Hall on the USC campus - along with enormous #5 jersey stretched over empty seats at the L.A. Coliseum for home football games.
Nikias has now answered that question. Emphatically.
UPDATE (8:30p ET): Reggie Bush failed to show today for a pre-scheduled live, online videochat with fans on behalf of Adidas at 7p ET.
The chat, scheduled to be held on Eastbay.com, was not canceled in advance and moderators assured chat participants that Bush would show up at any moment.
One hour after the chat was to begin, Adidas released the following statement to the media: “Unfortunately we had to reschedule our online chat with Reggie Bush. We’re working with Reggie and his team to reschedule.”
Earlier today USC announced that it was “revoking” Bush’s Heisman Trophy award and returning its copy of the trophy to the Heisman Trust.
USC was not required to do so by the NCAA, but school President-elect Max Nikias made the unprecedented announcement Tuesday while also introducing new school athletic director Pat Haden.
The Heisman Trophy Trust’s governing board meets July 27 and is expected to rule on what to do with Bush’s trophy at that time. 2005 Heisman runner-up Vince Young has reportedly said that he would not take the trophy if offered.
Before Bush blew off the scheduled online chat, USC Rivals Site USCFootball.com reported that Haden had decided to “unretire” Bush’s #5.
The new USC AD also expressed full support of Nikias’ move to strip Bush of college football’s most prestigious award on ESPN-TV before Bush’s prescheduled web video appearance.