USC’s Reggie Bush Gets Heisman Trophy Reinstated After 14 Years

The organization that hands out college football’s prestigious Heisman Trophy on Wednesday reinstated its 2005 award to USC running back Reggie Bush, an abrupt reversal by the group after one of college football’s most electric players of his era had the honor stripped from him in 2010 amid a wave of sanctions placed against the university by the NCAA.

Bush, who went on to play in the NFL and a career in sports broadcasting, had been increasingly vocal about getting his trophy back in recent years, saying he did nothing improper amid allegations that he and his family received improper benefits during his time at the Los Angeles university. As part of the sanctions, USC was stripped of its 2004 national championship and banned from playing in bowl games for two years.

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The Heisman Trophy Trust said that the “enormous changes” in college football were a big part of its decision to give back the trophy, given annually to the year’s best overall player.

“We are thrilled to welcome Reggie Bush back to the Heisman family in recognition of his collegiate accomplishments,” said Michael Comerford, Heisman Trophy Trust president, in a statement today. “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 was unquestionably college football’s best in 2005, when he rushed for more than 1,700 yards and scored 19 touchdowns, leading the Trojans to the national title. He received 784 first-place votes during Heisman voting, the fifth-most in the award’s history.

The Hesiman Trust said today the Supreme Court’s 2021 decision that questioned the legality of the NCAA’s amateurism model leading to student athlete compensation; new name, image, and likeness (NIL) rules; and the NCAA’s recent proposal to remove the cap on education-related payments were taken into account ahead of the reinstatement.

“Recognizing that the compensation of student athletes is an accepted practice and appears here to stay, these fundamental changes in college athletics led the trust to decide that now is the right time to return the trophy to Bush, who unquestionably was the most outstanding college football player of 2005,” it said.

The reversal means the trust has returned the trophy to Bush and the replica to USC, and Bush will be invited to all future Heisman Trophy ceremonies beginning this year.

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