What should USC football do with Reggie Bush’s No. 5 jersey? How concerning are challenges to the Trojans recruiting stronghold?
It’s the offseason, which means the questions on the minds of USC football fans have naturally strayed towards the Reggie Bush, the NCAA, recruiting and…Urban Meyer?
This week’s mailbag dives into those topics and more:
Q: How can the ncaa still be telling SC to disassociate itself with Bush? Why would we even listen, especially given what’s recently come out about paying players? Should SC issue #5 or retire it? Shouldn’t they do one or the other? — anonymous in Nor Cal
A: The NCAA is totally off-base in their “indefinite” disassociation penalty against USC and Reggie Bush. In the past, they have given disassociations for a set time and that’s exactly what they should do in this case.
But the NCAA is also the governing body of college football and as a member of the organization, USC is beholden to the NCAA’s rules.
It’s just like being a citizen. You are beholden to the laws on the books. If a cop pulls you over for doing 40 miles an hour in a 35 mile an hour zone, you can rant and rave about the ridiculousness of it all, but you’re still going to have to pay the ticket or get yourself into even more trouble.
Granted, a citizen can complain about the justness of a law or a punishment and move to have it changed. That’s the position USC is in. They need to lobby to force the NCAA to make this right. Successful lobbying requires a whole lot of willpower and relentless effort though. The Trojans have yet to prove they have it in them on this front.
As for the No. 5, it is retired, unofficially at least. Bush wore No. 5 when he won the Heisman Trophy and USC retires the numbers of Heisman Trophy winners. It doesn’t matter that the Heisman Trust took the award back (despite the fact that Bush is far from the first or the last Heisman winner who broke NCAA rules).
USC has done the right thing to keep the jersey out of circulation and they should continue to do so until the NCAA lets them acknowledge the player who wore it from 2003 to 2005.
Q: How concerning is it to the staff that the best players in their own back yard seem to be favoring out of state schools such as LSU and Oregon. And what steps are being taken to end that? — @mkmora57
A: This question is no doubt referring to the likes of five-star cornerback Elias Ricks, who is committed to LSU, and five-star wide receiver Johnny Wilson, who is favored to land with schools like Oregon and Washington, instead of USC. LSU also has a commitment from wide receiver Jermaine Burton, the No. 7 player in California per 247Sports, while the Ducks have a pledge from St. John Bosco receiver Kris Hutson.
It’s undeniable that USC’s recruiting stranglehold on California is being challenged by outside forces. And it’s a definite concern.
The trouble for USC at the moment is the power of negative recruiting. There’s little the Trojans can argue when concerns over the job security of Clay Helton and his coaching staff come up.
The only thing USC can do at this point is keep up relationships and contact with recruits. Then, when the fall comes around, win games. It’s that simple. The more the Trojans look like they have righted the ship, the more confident recruits will be when considering USC as a college destination.
Q: Since USC+Urban talk happening as of recent… If Helton were fired this past season, what would have been the chances USC got Urban Meyer? — @_jackypacky
A: Likely very slim.
This past fall, Meyer had just been deposed at Ohio State and the controversy over his inaction on domestic abuse allegations by an assistant coach was still hot. Had USC conducted a coaching search then, he might have been too hot to handle as a coaching candidate.
Moreover, Meyer might not have been all that interested in jumping right back into coaching. When he “retired” from Florida, he took less time off than expected, but still took some time off. This sabbatical was always bound to last a year. It’ll get interesting when that year is up.
Q: Could Porter Gustin be the biggest miss of the NFL draft?? What gives – failed drug test or injury bug? — @klanekwhite
A: Porter Gustin is the ultimate risk-reward situation. At this point, it feels like a 50-50 on whether the Saints will have the biggest steal of draft weekend or all the other teams in the league will be proven right that he wasn’t worth a draft pick considering his injury record.
It’s all up to Gustin now. If healthy, he’s more than capable of becoming a valuable pro. If unhealthy, it unfortunately won’t be a surprise.