Reggie Bush wants his Heisman Trophy back.
On the first day of a new era of college sports — where athletes can profit from their use of their name, image and likeness — Bush released a statement regarding the reinstatement of his Heisman and other achievements from his star-studded career at USC.
“It is my strong belief that I won the Heisman Trophy ‘solely’ due to my hard work and dedication on the football field and it is also my firm belief that my records should be reinstated,” Bush said in a statement.
Bush won the Heisman, college football’s most prestigious award, in 2005 but was forced to forfeit it after the NCAA ruled that he received impermissible benefits while playing at USC. The Trojans program was hit with severe sanctions and had to vacate all the games Bush played while ineligible — including the 2005 Orange Bowl that gave the Trojans the national title. On top of that, the NCAA forced USC to permanently disassociate itself from Bush, who went on to play 11 seasons in the NFL.
But attitudes toward long-standing NCAA policies that forbade college athletes from profiting in any way during their careers have changed. They changed so much so that states across the United States got involved, eventually forcing the NCAA to change its rules on NIL opportunities.
Bush: NCAA, Heisman Trust have not helped us
Bush, whose disassociation from USC ended last year, now wants back what he believes is rightfully his. His efforts in recent months, however, have gone unanswered. Bush said he and his team have reached out to both the Heisman Trust and the NCAA, but neither party has been receptive to his communications.
Below is Bush’s full statement:
“Over the last few months, on multiple occasions, my team and I have reached out to both the NCAA and The Heisman Trust in regard to the reinstatement of my college records and the return of my Heisman. We left multiple messages for Michael Comerford, the President of the Heisman Trust, but instead received a call from Rob Whalen, the Executive Director, who stated that Mr. Comerford would not be calling us back and that, in any event, they could not help us.”
“We reached out to the NCAA on multiple occasions and received no help or got no response at all. It is my strong belief that I won the Heisman Trophy ‘solely’ due to my hard work and dedication on the football field and it is also my firm belief that my records should be reinstated.”
In his three years at USC, Bush rushed for 3,169 yards, caught 95 passes for 1,301 yards and combined for 43 total touchdowns. Bush played a huge role on USC’s national title-winning team in 2004, his sophomore year. In his junior year, Bush rushed for 1,740 yards and 16 touchdowns and caught 37 passes for 478 yards, earning the Heisman Trophy over Texas quarterback Vince Young.
Since the end of his NCAA-mandated disassociation from USC, the school has welcomed Bush back with open arms. Bush was permitted back on campus as a member of the media (he works as a college football analyst for FOX), but had not been involved in the school’s athletic department or football program in any way.
“When I was hired to represent the Trojan Family as the Director of Athletics, I committed to listening and learning before leading. Throughout this process, one of the consistent themes that emerged from my discussions was how much Reggie Bush means to our former players, USC alumni, and fans everywhere," USC AD Mike Bohn said last year. "I’m pleased his disassociation has ended so that we can welcome him back to our family. I’m confident that Reggie will use his incredible platform and influential voice to support and empower all of our student-athletes.”
Additionally, Bush was announced last month as a nominee for the College Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2022. The class will be announced in early 2022 and formally inducted into the Hall of Fame at the 64th National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 6, 2022.
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