Longtime USC athletic director Mike Garrett has been dismissed. His replacement is former Trojans quarterback Pat Haden. Moreover, the university will return Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy as well as name new school officials responsible for compliance and take down murals of Bush and O.J. Mayo at the Galen Center. ESPN.com writes:
"“The Trojan Family honors and respects the USC sporting careers of those persons whose actions did not compromise their athletic program or the opportunities of future USC student-athletes,” Nikias said. He said USC would return the Heisman won by Bush in 2005 to the Heisman Trophy Trust next month. USC football faces a two-year bowl ban, loss of scholarships and the vacating of wins. The university has appealed several of the sanctions, saying they were “too severe” and “inconsistent with precedent.” In the meantime, the program has lost a number of highly-sought recruits, who were allowed to leave when the sanctions were imposed. The basketball program, in a series of self-imposed sanctions, vacated wins, gave back NCAA tournament earnings and banned itself from postseason play last season. Hailing USC’s athletic heritage as an important part of the school’s history and student life, Nikias said the university is determined to strengthen that heritage. “USC … will seek to excel in the coming years in a manner that is consistent with the highest values of the academy,” he said. He also thanked Garrett for his 17 years of service, calling him “a tireless advocate of USC athletics.” Garrett had his own highly successful career as a Trojans running back, earning All-American honors two seasons and winning the Heisman Trophy in 1965. “He will always be held in the highest esteem by all Trojans, not only for his exploits on the playing field but as a leader, mentor, teacher and a driving force behind USC’s student-athletics,” Nikias said."
These changes are the beginnings of an apparent plan by President Nikias to change the image of the university’s sports programs in the shadow of the sanctions. Firing Garrett, however responsible he may have been, was the best way to appease upset fans and start fresh.
There will almost definitely be further changes to the athletic department in the coming months in the spirit of positive change.