USC’s 2004 Grantland Rice Trophy, awarded to the Trojans by the Football Writers Association of America for their national title, will be revoked and the team barred from consideration for the award following this season. The FWAA trophy doesn’t have the same juice in the college football world as the BCS national title (or its predecessor the AP national title) but this is still big news because there has never been a revocation of a major national collegiate football championship prior to this year.
Citing the June 10, 2010, NCAA Infractions Report, Tim Griffin, 2010 FWAA President, stated as follows in his letter notifying USC of the FWAA’s decisions: “Had these facts been known, USC would not have been selected for the award … in light of standards applicable to FWAA poll participants, award candidates and award recipients.”
“All finalists for FWAA team and individual awards, including the Grantland Rice Award and Trophy, reasonably are presumed to have been in material compliance with certain qualifying standards at the time of award issuance,” the FWAA also noted. While expressly reserving its right to pick a substitute national champion or award winner in the future, a majority of the FWAA special committee nevertheless could not agree on the selection of a replacement for USC with respect to the 2004 Grantland Rice Award. Since no replacement for USC was named, the spot will be the only vacant one since the FWAA began awarding the trophy in 1954.
The ’04 season produced three undefeated teams. In the final Grantland Rice Poll of that season, conducted in January 2005 after the bowls, USC (13-0) was No. 1, Auburn (13-0) was No. 2 and Oklahoma (12-1) was No. 3. No. 4 Utah (12-0) also went undefeated during the 2004 season, becoming the first non-BCS conference team to be invited to a BCS bowl game. The Utes defeated Pittsburgh, 35-7, in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl.
By the way, if you’re wondering what the FWAA is, I happen to be a dues paying member, but one who had no input whatsoever in today’s ruling. It’s a not-for-profit organization comprised of nearly 1,200 journalists, broadcasters, publicists and other college football experts.
Every year since 1954 the FWAA has awarded the Grantland Rice Award and Trophy to the national champion for college football as selected by a panel of FWAA members.
Written by Paul M. Banks, president and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest-focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network and Fox Sports.com
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and @bigtenguru