NCAA sanctions played a large role in this year’s college football season, most notably in the case of sanctions against the USC Trojans. USC was sanctioned for “lack of institutional control” with the loss of 30 scholarships, a two-year ban on participating in a bowl game, four years of probation, and the forfeiture of 14 games they had won from December 2004 through the rest of the 2005 season.
The NCAA investigation determined that while Reggie Bush was playing for USC, he allegedly accepted gifts, ranging from a rent-free home for his family to a car, from two sports marketers. The NCAA does not have the power to sanction Bush as a former player, although he did return his 2005 Heisman Trophy, without ever admitting wrongdoing.
In October 2009, the House Judiciary Committee held a contentious hearing on the NFL’s response to brain injuries in current and former players. The chairman of the NFL committee on brain injuries subsequently resigned. In December 2009, the NFL announced stricter guidelines for returning to play after a player sustains a concussion on the field.
The new guidelines require that players who suffer concussions cannot return to a game or practice until they show no further symptoms of concussion and are cleared by both the team doctor and an independent neurologist.