Reggie Bush Reclaims Heisman Trophy 14 Years After Forfeiting

Reggie Bush reclaimed his 2005 Heisman Trophy, as the Heisman Trust announced Wednesday the official “reinstatement” of the trophy to Bush amid what it calls “tremendous changes to the college football landscape.”

The Heisman Trust’s decision comes after Bush relinquished his Heisman Trophy in 2010 following significant NCAA sanctions against USC, which included Bush receiving improper benefits during a Trojans career that went south. is extended from 2003 to 2005.

As part of Wednesday’s decision, the Heisman Trust returns the Heisman Trophy to Bush and a replica to USC. Bush will again be invited to all future Heisman Trophy ceremonies, beginning with the 2024 season.

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

The decision to reinstate the Heisman Trophy was based on a “deliberative process” by the Heisman Trust intended to oversee a dramatic change in college athletics in recent years. The Trust cited “fundamental changes in college sports” in which rules that allowed “student-athlete compensation” became “an accepted practice and appear here to stay.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Reggie Bush back to the Heisman family in recognition of his academic achievements,” Michael Comerford, chairman of the Heisman Trophy Trust, said in a statement. “We took into account the tremendous changes that have occurred in college sports over the past several years to decide that the time was right to reinstate the trophy for Reggie. We are very pleased to welcome him back.”

As rules allowing athletes to be paid for their name, image and likeness were enacted in 2021, Bush began pushing for his trophy to be returned. He issued a statement in July 2021 that included criticism of the Heisman Trust, including Comerford not responding to Bush’s calls.

There has been a recent outpouring of support from Heisman winners for Bush to reclaim the trophy. The most public came from former Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel, who said earlier this year that he would skip the Heisman Trophy ceremony until Bush’s trophy was returned. USC’s Matt Leinart, Bush’s former teammate, and Notre Dame’s Tim Brown are both Heisman winners who have spoken publicly about Bush’s trophy return.

Manziel reacted to Wednesday’s news on social networksthanking the Heisman Trust for “doing the right thing and welcoming back a historic member of our history.”

In its decision-making, the Heisman Trust noted the Supreme Court’s 2021 decision against the NCAA in the Alston case, which the Trust said “challenged the legality of the NCAA’s model of amateurism and opened the door to compensation for student-athletes.”

“Recognizing that paying student-athletes is an accepted practice and appears to be here to stay, these fundamental changes in college athletics led the Trust to decide that the time had come to return the trophy to Bush, who was without any arguably college football’s most outstanding player of 2005,” said the Heisman Trophy Trust.

USC will now officially have eight Heisman Trophies, giving it the most of any school in the country, ahead of Ohio State, Oklahoma and Notre Dame’s seven.

Bush lost the trophy in September 2010, marking the first time college football’s highest award was returned by a recipient. A few months earlier, in July, USC returned its replica of Bush’s trophy, one of the first actions of former athletic director Pat Haden’s tenure.

Sanctions imposed by USC as a result of this investigation included the bowl championship series vacating the 2004 national title, the first time a major college football champion had been stripped of a championship. The NCAA stripped USC of wins in 14 games Bush played, including this blowout BCS title victory over Oklahoma after the 2004 season. (Bush filed a defamation suit against the NCAA in August 2023.)

Bush’s play on the field at USC made him one of the most transcendent college athletes of this century. He averaged 8.5 yards per touch from scrimmage during his career, including 1,740 yards rushing and 8.7 yards per carry on 200 carries in 2005.

He scored 42 career touchdowns over three seasons – 25 rushing, 13 receiving and four on special teams returns. Bush was selected No. 2 overall in the 2006 NFL Draft, and only one back has been chosen that high in the draft since: Saquon Barkley in 2018.

Bush was so dominant in 2005, totaling 2,890 yards, that his 784 first-place votes were the fifth-most in Heisman Trophy history.

Nearly two decades after that unparalleled season, Bush won his Heisman Trophy again.

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