"I don't see any reason to take it back from him. Anybody that watched college football during his time will tell you Reggie Bush was the most exciting football player on earth at the college level," said Tony Dorsett, the former Pittsburgh Panthers and Dallas Cowboys great.
"I think he was a very justified winner. His numbers were right. He meant as much as anybody has ever meant to their team."
Dorsett, the 1976 Heisman winner, believes Southern Cal officials should share the blame.
"It's not Reggie Bush. I don't know what his economic background was at that time, but that's what a lot of these universities do. They get these great talents and they get them to go to their higher institutions of learning because they shell out a little cheese for them," Dorsett said.
"And sometimes these kids need that. They all know it's wrong. But in most cases, they don't ask (schools) for it. They offer it. Those people that are doing that need to be sanctioned."
Though the Heisman ballot states "recipients must be in compliance with the (NCAA) bylaws," Rogers, South Carolina's lone Heisman winner, and others said the most important criteria are Bush's football accomplishments.
Frankly, I would expect most Heisman winners to fall in line with those same sentiments. I think that most athletes feel college players get the short end of the stick when it comes to being unpaid, so his comments don't surprise me.
But I think he's wrong on this one. The rules state that winners have to be compliant with NCAA rules and if Bush has not been, then I think he should lose the trophy. Those are the rules and regardless of his actual performance on the field, if he's found guilty of cheating, then he deserves to lose the trophy. True, an argument can be made that it didn't affect his on-field performance. I would be inclined to agree with that. But let's create a different scenario. Instead of attending USC, what if he had attended a school with less talented athletes? If he didn't have the opportunity to play on an outstanding team loaded with weapons, would he have still put up the same numbers?
I don't know - I always hate saying an athlete or team should lose an award after the fact...especially YEARS after the fact. Still, I'm not exactly on board with the idea of saying that the rules shouldn't count.