USC stripped of 2004 BCS national championship

The Bowl Championship Series stripped Southern California of its

2004 title on Monday, leaving that season without a BCS

champion.

The announcement was no surprise. BCS officials had said USC was

in danger of having its championship vacated after the Trojans were

hit with heavy NCAA sanctions last year for rules violations

committed during the 2004 and ’05 seasons.

”The BCS alerted us today that their presidents have voted to

vacate USC’s 2005 BCS championship game victory,” USC athletic

director Pat Haden said. ”This was not an unexpected outcome. We

will comply with all requirements mandated by the result of this

BCS vote.”

The NCAA ruled star tailback Reggie Bush received improper extra

benefits during those seasons and was ineligible when he

played.

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.

The Trojans will not have to relinquish The Associated Press

national championship.

”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.”

The BCS also said the Trojans must vacate their participation in

2006 Rose Bowl. USC lost that game, 41-38, and the national

championship to Texas.