The Heisman Trust, which manages college football’s most prestigious athletic award, said today that former University of Southern California star Reggie Bush could get his Heisman Trophy back and his college career statistics restored — that’s IF the NCAA removed sanctions against him.
The Friday statement from the Heisman Trust comes in response to Bush’s public request on Thursday to get back his trophy, which he voluntarily surrendered in 2010.
The flurry of activity this week came in the wake of an NCAA decision that now allows college athletes to monetize their names, images and likenesses.
Bush was sanctioned in 2010 after a four-year extra-benefits investigation determined that he and family members accepted cash, travel, and household expenses, as well as a home in the San Diego area, all while he was a student athlete.
The former star running back feels that society has now caught up to his actions, and has requested the trophy’s return. Bush and USC were far from the only player and school with boosters who quietly offered inducements to star athletes to play for them. But they were the one who was caught.
The Heisman Trust decision also potentially cracks open the door to have the USC team’s 2004-2005 BCS Championship restored by the NCAA, although that’s admittedly a longer shot. Although USC won the BCS Championship over Oklahoma at the Orange Bowl, their national title was vacated.
The school was heavily sanctioned in 2010 for its failure to regulate Bush. It was banned from the postseason for two years, and suffered three years of scholarship losses. USC was also ordered to disassociate itself from Bush for 10 years.
“Bush’s 2005 season records remain vacated by the NCAA and, as a result, under the rule set forth by the Heisman Trust and stated on the Heisman Ballot, he is not eligible to be awarded the 2005 Heisman Memorial Trophy,” the trust said. “Should the NCAA reinstate Bush’s 2005 status, the Heisman Trust looks forward to welcoming him back to the Heisman family.”
On Thursday, Bush said numerous attempts to reach out to the NCAA have proved fruitless.