Reggie Bush Scandal and Five Times Karma Saved NCAA From an Ugly Mess
Revisionist history says the voters screwed up by giving Reggie Bush the Heisman Trophy.
But look on the bright side, NCAA, it is better to give back a personal award than to vacate a national championship.
What if Reggie Bush hadn't made that stupid lateral (thank you, karma)? What if Vince Young didn't take Texas on his back and win the national championship?
We would be staring at a vacated national championship and the sports world could fall apart.
So far the NCAA has avoided that apocalyptic event, but it has come perilously close a few times.
Here are the times when karma has saved the NCAA's tail in light of controversy.
5. The Questionables and Close Calls
Jerry Tarkanian: Tark won an NCAA title at UNLV in the early 90s, and we might be looking at a national championship that should have been revoked with all of the shady dealings he did to put that group together. But Tark was banished and the NCAA decided to forget him.
Karma didn't really save them here, and the NCAA just chose to look away, so we will put this one here.
Maurice Clarett: Clarett was dismissed from Ohio State after he tried to go pro after his freshman year. Ohio State did win the championship with Clarett, but it was his stupidity afterward that got him to where he is today.
Not really karma, it was Clarett's stupidity, that got him kicked out and saved the NCAA from dealing with a huge mess.
Lawrence Phillips: Phillips was kicked off the Nebraska squad in 1995 that won the national championship. He was later reinstated amid much controversy.
Phillips was just a poor excuse for a human being, though, as his indiscretions involved physical abuse rather than illegal receipt of money. Nebraska was so loaded that they probably could have done without him anyway.
Yeah, this list may not technically be a No. 5 starter, but these close calls are a good way to start off the rest of the list, when the NCAA narrowly escaped. So let's take a look.
4. Maurkice Pouncey
We will start off next with this one because it is fresh in everyone's mind.
Pouncey was accused of taking $100,000 from an agent after Florida's SEC Championship Game loss to Alabama and before the 2010 Sugar Bowl.
The jury is still out on this one, but let's just take a look at what might have happened if karma, a Carlos Dunlap DUI, and an Alabama freight train didn't knock Florida off course.
If Florida had beaten Alabama and went on to play Texas, we would be speculating on the outcome of course. But what would have happened if the Gators won? The NCAA might have had to revoke this one, pending the outcome of the investigation.
The NCAA is breathing a heavy sigh of relief on this one. A vacated Sugar Bowl is something you can live with, but a national championship is a completely different matter.
3. Marcus Camby
You have to go back a ways for this one, back to the days when John Calipari was at UMass.
Camby led the Minutemen to the Final Four, where they lost to eventual champion Kentucky 81-74. But it was a close one.
Camby won the Naismith Award and helped UMass to the No. 1 ranking in parts of the regular season.
If he could have pulled off that win against Kentucky, then UMass probably would have taken home a title. They would have also had to have given it back too.
If it weren't for a strong Kentucky squad, I would say that karma was the only reason Camby and his beastliness didn't take UMass all the way.
Instead, the NCAA will live with UMass only vacating their Final Four appearance.
2. Derrick Rose
Rose allegedly had someone take his SAT for him before leading Memphis to the NCAA Championship Game.
This was a true example of karma intervening, when Memphis proceeded to do what they do best and missed a barrage of free throws as they choked away the national championship against Kansas.
Somehow Memphis managed to avoid this weakness all the way to the national championship game, but the basketball gods caught wind of what was about to go down, so they intervened and saved basketball from a huge mess.
Mario Chalmers' game-tying heave ultimately saved the NCAA, as Kansas went on to win in overtime.
Memphis ended up vacating its entire 38-win season, but be thankful that there wasn't a 39th win at the end of that one, NCAA.
1. Reggie Bush
As mentioned in the opening slide, karma saved the NCAA from a USC championship in 2005.
Unfortunately, that 2004 championship is still in question. The NCAA has not decided whether to vacate that championship.
I guess the football gods didn't feel that Oklahoma was a worthy champion that season, either, because I don't think any kind of karmic intervention could have saved them from that beatdown.
Maybe it was a lesson to the NCAA not to leave out an undefeated SEC team from the national championship, a lesson that has been heeded well since then for undefeateds and one-losses alike from the south.
It will be interesting to see the course of action the NCAA takes if this one is vacated. Will it go to Auburn? Nobody? Or will the NCAA do what it does best and turn its back on this one?
I guess karma cannot always save the NCAA, but at least it is doing something to attempt to cleanse college football of these sorts of things in the future.
Let's hope karma won't have to save face for a long time, at least as far as national championships are concerned. You have done enough good for us, karma, and we thank you for that.
It's on you now, NCAA.