USC stripped of '04 championship

Updated: June 7, 2011, 10:35 AM ET
By Ted Miller | ESPN.com

The BCS stripped USC of its 2004 national title Monday.

The decision was not unexpected but required the NCAA's May 26 rejection of USC's appeal of sanctions stemming from the Reggie Bush investigation to move forward.

The BCS ruling vacated the results of the 2005 Orange Bowl -- the national title game for 2004 -- as well as the Trojans participation in the 2006 Rose Bowl, in which USC lost to Texas, 41-38, in the championship game.

As a result of the BCS's Presidential Oversight Committee ruling, there will be no BCS national champion in the record book for the 2004-05 season.

"The BCS arrangement crowns a national champion, and the BCS games are showcase events for postseason football," BCS executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement. "One of the best ways of ensuring that they remain so is for us to foster full compliance with NCAA rules. Accordingly, in keeping with the NCAA's recent action, USC's appearances are being vacated.

"This action reflects the scope of the BCS arrangement and is consistent with the NCAA's approach when it subsequently discovers infractions by institutions whose teams have played in NCAA championship events."

The BCS and NCAA are not formally affiliated, but the BCS reacted to the NCAA finding that Bush was ineligible during the 2004 season because he received extra benefits from a would-be sports marketer.

"This was not an unexpected outcome," USC athletic director Pat Haden said. "We will comply with all requirements mandated by the result of this BCS vote."

One of Haden's first moves when he took over as AD last year was to give back the school's copy of the Heisman Trophy that Bush won in 2005. Bush later relinquished his own Heisman and the trust in charge of handing out the award announced the '05 winner would be left vacant.

The BCS waited until USC appealed the NCAA sanctions, which included a two-year ban from postseason play and a loss of 30 scholarships over three seasons, to make a decision about its championship. The NCAA denied USC's appeal on May 26.

At that point, it was just a matter of time before the Trojans' 55-19 victory against Oklahoma in the 2005 Orange Bowl was wiped from the record books.

The dominant performance capped a perfect season by USC and left it ranked at the top of both the AP and coaches' polls. Auburn and Utah also finished that season undefeated.

Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said Monday the Tigers should be declared retroactively as 2004-05 national champions.

"Yes," Tuberville said. "Someone should be awarded (the) title. If not, the team that had to forfeit is not really punished."

The Trojans will not have to relinquish The Associated Press national championship.

Ted Miller covers the Pac-10 for ESPN.com. Information from ESPN.com's Joe Schad and The Associated Press was used in this report.

Ted Miller | email

College Football