Reggie Bush and the Biggest Embarrassments in College Football History
Reggie Bush is an over-the-top example of money and agents polluting the college sports system. But he’s far from the only offender.
The truth is, he’s just the latest example of an embarrassing and scandalous situation taking over the headlines.
Scandal and trouble with the law has been almost as synonymous with college sports as the games themselves.
Here’s our countdown of the "best" moments in misbehaving and circumventing the rules down through the years.
Honorable Mention: George O'Leary
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The shortest coaching tenure in Notre Dame football history came about from a fake résumé.
O’Leary allegedly lied about many parts of the résumé made public after his hiring, including his education and his coaching experience.
It’s sad that some folks to this day back O’Leary, calling the charges minor and having nothing to do with his coaching ability that he got hired for.
And we wonder why our college athletes are such punks at times. If we don't see lying and cheating the system as a problem, it all starts right there.
O'Leary went on to become an assistant coach with the Minnesota Vikings and is now head coach at Central Florida.
15. Jeremiah Masoli
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The Oregon quarterback went from the cover of Sports Illustrated in August 2009 to being booted off the team earlier this year.
At first, he was suspended for the entire 2010 season after admitting to being involved in a burglary.
Then on June 9, he was kicked off the team after being arrested for marijuana possession.
Masoli is the poster child for a program full of miscreants and arrests at the moment.
Then there are the assaults on the field, Mr. Blount.
Good luck with that, Chip Kelly.
14. 1980s Miami
ESPN recently made a fantastic documentary about arguably the wildest and most out-of-control program in sports history.
Guns, drugs, and lewd sex acts and violence toward women were just many of the allegations against the 1980s version of the Hurricanes.
One of the more infamous allegations was that 2 Live Crew member Luther Campbell paid players for different accomplishments like touchdowns or big hits.
And yes, that is K-Fed with Campbell.
13. Dez Bryant
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The former Oklahoma State receiver was forced off the team for most of the 2009 season after an NCAA investigation cited him for inappropriate contact with sports agents.
The issue was that he had too much contact with Deion Sanders, who allegedly was a middle man in interactions with sports agents.
12. Cris Carter
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The legendary NFL receiver lost his senior year of eligibility when it was found that he had signed with shady agent Norby Walters before the 1987 season.
Carter was on ESPN Radio Friday with former Buckeyes teammate Chris Spielman and spoke about the scandal for the first time in more than 20 years.
He said he would give anything to have that decision back and apologized to Spielman for costing the team a shot at a national championship. Without Carter, the team went 6-4-1.
11. Mike Leach
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Dude, you just don’t lock a kid in a shed.
I don’t care what kind of offensive genius you are—nothing justifies that.
Ironically enough, it was Craig James’ son who was the alleged victim. James had his own issues with the NCAA many years before.
10. Not So Sweet Home Alabama
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First came an NCAA investigation where the team was found to have committed violations in 1995. The issue involved cornerback Antonio Langham, who signed with an agent and entered the NFL draft in January 1993.
The team was hit with scholarship losses, a one-year postseason ban, and forfeiting eight wins and one tie in the team’s 9-3-1 1993 campaign.
Then came 2000, when a coach in Memphis claimed that a Tide booster paid him $50,000 to get a player to sign with the team. The program was hit with a two-year bowl ban and a four-year probation from 2002 to 2006.
Then came a textbook selling scandal that forced the team to vacate 21 wins from 2005-07 under coach Mike Shula (pictured).
9. Charley Pell at Clemson
The coach had a knack for winning but also wrecking programs with violations. He was the 1970s and 1980s football version of what many think of John Calipari these days.
First, Pell turned around the Clemson program, leading them to their first bowl game in 18 years in 1977. He was named ACC coach of the year in 1978. He left for Florida after that year.
Soon after, the NCAA was tipped to numerous violations under Pell, and the Tigers were put on probation for two years in 1982.
8. Reggie Bush
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My biggest issue and why Bush is so high on the list is just the length of time that Bush and all involved have held on to the lies.
There's nothing proven...yet. But much like Barry Bonds, the pile of evidence is so extreme that Bush accepted gifts while at USC that it's just laughable that the Saints running back is asserting his innocence.
The problem was certainly not isolated to Bush. There's no way Pete Carroll leaves that spot atop college football to go to the lowly Seahawks if there wasn't plenty of smoke before the fire.
Ironically, the person behind the NCAA investigation is the chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions, Paul Dee, the man in charge of Miami Hurricanes athletics long ago.
You'll read more about his outstanding contributions to this slideshow later.
7. Scooter McDougle
Great name for a shady dude.
He was accused of paying teammates to sit out games with “injuries” in an attempt to shave points and beat point spreads with bookies.
This happened with the Toledo team that was just starting to come to national prominence.
McDougle was charged with conspiracy to commit point shaving in 2008 after an FBI investigation.
6. Charley Pell at Florida
Pell is largely credited in Gators country for laying the foundation of success that the Florida program has seen since the 1990s.
He coached the team from 1979 to 1984. But the NCAA followed him there and accused the program of 107 major violations, leading to the school firing Pell three games into the 1984 season.
The Gators were put on a two-year probation, banned from TV games or bowl games, and lost 20 scholarships.
5. Lawrence Phillips
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One of the baddest dudes in the history of sports if you ask me.
Phillips has repeatedly been charged with domestic violence. It’s a charge that has followed him throughout his career and led to his demise in the NFL.
But the first charges arose in 1995 when he was accused of choking his girlfriend on the Nebraska campus.
Equally despicable in my opinion was Tom Osborne’s decision to reinstate Phillips to the team after the charge.
4. Barry Switzer and the Oklahoma Sooners
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Brian Bosworth wrote in his autobiography that the Sooners were all about cocaine and were full of known abusers. Head coach Barry Switzer denied the allegations but stepped down in 1989 amid an NCAA investigation that led to a three-year probation for the program.
Bosworth also said gunplay was almost a hobby for Sooners players. Switzer also denied that, but one player was charged with wounding a teammate with a gun in the dorm.
Three other players were charged with first-degree rape, and Charles Thompson was arrested for cocaine possession and allegedly soliciting the drug from FBI agents.
3. Maurice Clarett
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The laundry list with Clarett is extensive. He was accused of getting easy A’s from a professor. He was mad when the school didn’t pay for him to fly home for a funeral and went public with his issues.
The school kicked him off the team after it was found Clarett filed a false police report, saying clothes, money, and stereo equipment were stolen from a car he borrowed from a car dealership.
The school would later report that Clarett accepted thousands in payoffs from boosters. Some reports have the amount into six figures.
2. Eric Dickerson and the SMU Mustangs
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The program itself was already in trouble and on probation for recruiting violations when news broke that players were being paid out of a slush fund.
It was proven that Texas governor Bill Clements had led the charge to get players like Eric Dickerson and Craig James allegedly paid more than $61,000.
The NCAA gave the program the "death penalty," and the program was forced to disband for the 1987 season. The Mustangs scandal is largely credited for leading to the end of the Southwestern Conference.
Hey, I have an idea. Let's put that guy in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Brilliant!
1. 1990s Miami
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Allegations of widespread cocaine abuse and recruiting violations continued to swirl around the program.
After Jimmy Johnson left the school for the NFL, Dennis Erickson took over and won a national title in his first year.
By 1995, the school was put on a one-year ban from postseason play and docked a total of 55 scholarships over a three-year period. The aforementioned Paul Dee didn't have much of an explanation for any of the mayhem.
It was found that boosters falsified Pell Grant applications that led to players getting $250,000 worth of inappropriate federal grants. Plus, the NCAA later found that the players had received more than $400,000 in inappropriate payments.
To add insult to injury, players broke into the dorm of a Miami track runner and beat him in June 1996.
Shockingly, Erickson left the program—for the seeming safe house for college scumbags up in Seattle with the Seahawks—and let Butch Davis clean up the mess.