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Reggie Bush’s Heisman restored

On Behalf of | May 20, 2024 | Current Events |

After 14 years, Reggie Bush, the celebrated USC football icon, got his 2005 Heisman Trophy back. This momentous event comes after a lengthy period of sanctions and controversies.

The Heisman Trust made the announcement on April 24, reinstating Bush and returning the accolade he relinquished amidst severe penalties on his college. The landscape of college sports has evolved, especially with introducing Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rights, prompting this change of heart.

After initially ignoring Bush’s calls for reinstatement, the President of the Heisman Trophy Trust, Michael Comerford, expressed excitement over welcoming Bush back, citing recent shifts in college athletics as a factor in the organization’s decision. The Trust restored Bush’s status, returned his original trophy, and ensured his presence at future Heisman events.

“We are thrilled to welcome Reggie Bush back to the Heisman family in recognition of his collegiate accomplishments,” said Comerford in a statement. “We considered the enormous changes in college athletics over the last several years in deciding that now is the right time to reinstate the Trophy for Reggie. We are so happy to welcome him back.”

Bush’s grateful response

Bush himself expressed joy at rejoining the Heisman legacy and thanked the Trust for recognizing his contributions to college football:

“Personally, I’m thrilled to reunite with my fellow Heisman winners and be a part of the storied legacy of the Heisman Trophy, and I’m honored to return to the Heisman family,” Bush said in a statement. “I also look forward to working together with the Heisman Trust to advance the values and mission of the organization.”

The long journey to reinstatement

The Heisman Trust revoked Bush’s trophy in 2010 after an NCAA investigation revealed he accepted illegal financial benefits. USC had to nullify their wins with Bush, including a national championship, and Bush’s statistics from the season were erased. Although USC welcomed him back in 2020, the Heisman Trust awaited NCAA reinstatement before returning his trophy.

Despite the changes in NIL rules, the NCAA did not alter its stance on Bush’s records. Still, Bush’s determination did not wane — the College Football Hall of Fame inducted him, and he filed a lawsuit against the NCAA for defamation. The goal was to restore his records and reclaiming his Heisman Trophy.

Without a resolution to his lawsuit, the Heisman Trust restored Bush’s trophy. How this will affect his standing with the NCAA and the ongoing legal battle is unknown.