BCS strips USC’s 2004 title

The Bowl Championship Series unanimously decided to strip the University of Southern California of the 2004 national football title, BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said Monday. The championship was awarded after USC defeated Oklahoma 55-19 in the 2005 Orange Bowl.

The decision marks the first time a major-college football or men’s basketball championship has been vacated since the polls began.

BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said there was no opposition to decision.

“The president’s group operates by consensus,” Hancock said, referring to the governing body of the BCS, which is made up of one president from each of the NCAA’s 12 conferences and the president of Notre Dame. “In this case, there was no opposition.”

In keeping with BCS and NCAA policy, the title will be vacated and not awarded to another school.

This is the final major penalty for the USC program in the aftermath of the NCAA’s investigation of the school over violations regarding former running back Reggie Bush and basketball player O.J. Mayo. USC also was hit with a two-year bowl ban and will be limited to 15 scholarships in football over the next three years.

Those penalties were maintained despite an appeal by USC. The NCAA announced its final decision on the penalties for USC in May, denying the appeal. USC officials expressed disappointment at the NCAA’s decision. On Monday, USC Athletic Director Pat Haden reacted to the latest news.

“The BCS alerted us today that their presidents have voted to vacate USC’s 2005 BCS Championship Game victory,” Haden said. “This was not an unexpected outcome. We will comply with all requirements mandated by the result of this BCS vote.”

Hancock said the group was satisfied that it followed proper procedures set up years ago to handle such situations. He said the group has no plans to add investigatory work to how it handles such controversies.

“We’re not an investigatory body and we’ll leave that to the NCAA. Once it goes through its process and comes to its conclusion, we will take that into account,” Hancock said. “This is the procedure we came up with when we started this and we’re satisfied with how it worked. If we have to dust this off again, we’ll do it. Hopefully, we won’t, but this has worked properly.”

The Associated Press has maintained it will not take away the 2004 national championship awarded to the Trojans in its media poll.

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