USC's 2004 Grantland Rice Trophy, awarded to the Trojans for their national football title, will be revoked and the team barred from consideration for the award following the 2010 college football season. In addition, the Football Writers Association of America declined to name a replacement for USC's vacated spot.
USC will remain in the Grantland Rice Trophy 2010 preseason rankings to be released in the next few days, it has been determined.
These were the conclusions of a majority vote of the Resolutions Committee comprising current and former FWAA officers formed to review issues presented by USC's recent NCAA football scandal.
There has never been a prior 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. The spot will be the only vacant one since the FWAA began awarding the trophy in 1954.
"There was a thorough discussion of all the possible scenarios involving all the appropriate teams," Griffin said of the 2004 season. "The FWAA reached a very fair conclusion based on careful consideration of the strengths of all the teams. We realize there are numerous opinions on this question.
"Nonetheless, this group - which has more than three collective centuries of experience covering college football and has members representing all geographic regions in the nation - came to a decision we feel best serves the sport."
The 2004 football season produced three undefeated teams after the bowls. In the final Grantland Rice Poll of the 2004 season, conducted in January 2005 after all the bowl games were played, USC (13-0) was No. 1, Auburn (13-0) was No. 2 and Oklahoma (12-1) was No. 3, after losing to the Trojans in the Bowl Championships Series national title game. 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.
The Football Writers Association of America is an independent, not-for-profit comprised of nearly 1,200 journalists, broadcasters, publicists and others with special expertise in college football. Each 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. The Award was founded in honor of the legendary Grantland Rice and is the only college football award reflecting the independent, non-profit and collective views of sports journalists.