USC AD Pat Haden Wants Reggie Bush Back On Campus


Two weeks after the California courts released nearly 500 pages of documents relating to Todd McNair’s defamation lawsuit against the NCAA and USC athletic director Pat Haden issued a harsh statement blasting the NCAA for breaking its own rules, the Trojan response to the NCAA sanctions is only heating up.

Haden was interviewed by Jane Wells on CNBC Friday morning to discuss his stance on Indiana, the repercussions it might have for the Notre Dame game and the NCAA penalties.

More surprisingly, Haden took a stand on the Reggie Bush issue.

“Reggie Bush is one of the greatest football players in the history of USC football,” Haden said. “The kids even today who come here and play football still remember they were first introduced to USC through Matt Leinart and Reggie BUsh and those teams that were so successful during that Pete Carroll run.”

This is not the first time Haden has discussed Bush’s banishment from Heritage Hall.

Back in 2010, Haden was quoted by ESPN expressing a desire for the disgraced Heisman winner to be able to explain himself in front of USC’s football team.

"“I wish I could ask Reggie to come talk to our football team. I can’t,” said Haden, who replaced ousted AD Mike Garrett on Aug. 3. “He’s not allowed on the campus. But I think he would tell them what a big mistake he made and how sorry he is.”"

Bush was indefinitely dissociated from the university by the NCAA when the sanctions ruling came down.

However, there is precedence for NCAA-mandated dissociation to have an expiration date. Chris Webber’s 2003 dissociation from Michigan was in force for ten years, ending in 2013.

Of course there remain questions on Bush’s opinion of his dissociation. In 2012, he expressed no desire to return during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show.

"“I haven’t wanted to go back so I don’t feel like that’s an issue,” Bush said. “So even if it was, I wouldn’t go back.”"

There are also logistical matters to be discussed.

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Does Haden want the NCAA to symbolically end Bush’s dissociation as a gesture of good faith?

Or does USC genuinely want to welcome Bush back to campus, as a person and as a historic figure? Does Haden intend to return the No. 5 jersey to the steps in front of the Coliseum, where the No. 11 and No. 3 lay?

Whether or not Bush or Haden want the No. 5 physically or figuratively restored at USC, Haden’s latest comments certainly indicate his intentions to continue to force the issue.

Haden has yet to ask for money, scholarships or other sorts of reparations, but publicly laying a claim for an end to Bush’s dissociation feels like a first step.

Do you want Reggie Bush back on campus?

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