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Reggie Bush Reclaims Heisman Trophy after 14 years

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Former USC and NFL running back Reggie Bush is seeing the Heisman Trophy, which he won in 2005, returned to him.

Reggie Bush, a former college football player for the USC Trojans, has officially regained his 2005 Heisman Trophy. The Heisman Trust, which oversees the award, made the announcement on Wednesday, citing significant changes in college football.

The Heisman Memorial Trophy Trust declared the reinstatement of the trophy to Bush on April 24. It is recognizing as a landmark moment in college football history.

This decision marks the end of a long process for Bush, who had forfeited the trophy in the past due to NCAA violations. Now, with the landscape of college athletics evolving. The Heisman Trust has deemed it appropriate to return the prestigious award to Bush.

The Heisman Trust’s recent decision to reinstate Reggie Bush’s 2005 Heisman Trophy follows a series of events that began in 2010. At that time, Bush voluntarily forfeited his Heisman Trophy due to serious NCAA sanctions imposed on the USC football program.

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The sanctions stemmed from violations. Which are including Bush’s acceptance of improper benefits during his tenure as a player for the Trojans. Which lasted from 2003 to 2005. As a result, Bush made the difficult decision to give up the prestigious award. It is acknowledging the wrongdoing that had occurred during his college football career.

In its decision announced on Wednesday, the Heisman Trust not only reinstated Reggie Bush’s 2005 Heisman Trophy. But also included provisions for both Bush and USC. Reggie Bush will receive his original Heisman Trophy back, signifying his rightful status as the 2005 recipient.

Additionally, the Heisman Trust will provide USC with a replica of the trophy. This gesture acknowledges the university’s connection to Bush’s historic achievement. Also it allows them to display a symbol of his outstanding performance.

Furthermore, as part of this reinstatement, Bush once again be welcome to all future Heisman Trophy ceremonies. This invitation signals a restoration of Bush’s standing within the Heisman community, recognizing his contributions to college football despite the past controversies.

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Reggie Bush expressed his excitement. And gratitude in a statement provided to ESPN regarding the reinstatement of his 2005 Heisman Trophy. He stated, “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.” This sentiment reflects Bush’s enthusiasm for rejoining the esteemed group of Heisman recipients. And embracing the rich history associated with the trophy.

Additionally, Bush expressed his eagerness to collaborate with the Heisman Trust. He is stating, “I also look forward to working together with the Heisman Trust. To advance the values and mission of the organization.” This statement demonstrates Bush’s commitment to contributing positively to the goals and objectives of the Heisman Trust. It is indicating his willingness to participate in furthering the organization’s mission and promoting its core values.

Bush leaps over UCLA defender Marcus Cassel during his time as a USC Trojan at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, December 3, 2005.
Bush leaps over UCLA defender Marcus Cassel during his time as a. USC Trojan at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, December 3, 2005.

Reggie Bush received his Heisman Trophy during a pre planned summit meeting of the Heisman Trust on Wednesday morning near Jacksonville, Florida. Tim Henning, the associate director of the Heisman Trust. Which is shared details of the occasion with ESPN’s Coley Harvey, describing it as having a “celebratory atmosphere.” Approximately 15 Heisman winners were present at the meeting to witness Bush’s trophy reinstatement.

This gathering of past Heisman recipients added to the significance of the moment. As Bush reclaimed his place among the esteemed group of college football legends. The event marked a memorable occasion for all those involved. As they came together to honor Bush’s achievement and celebrate the enduring legacy of the Heisman Trophy.

Henning said the other winners thrilled to see Bush.

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The Heisman Trust’s decision to reinstate Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy resulted from a careful and thoughtful process of evaluation. The Trust noted significant shifts in the landscape of college athletics in recent years. Prompting a reexamination of Bush’s eligibility for the award.

Specifically, the Trust pointed to what it described as “fundamental changes in college athletics. Further, highlighting the emergence of rules allowing for “student athlete compensation.” These changes have transformed the landscape of college sports. With the acceptance and normalization of practices involving compensation for student athletes.

The Trust acknowledged that these developments represent a significant shift in the traditional framework of college athletics. And appear to be permanent fixtures moving forward. In light of these evolving dynamics, the Trust deemed it appropriate to revisit Bush’s eligibility for the Heisman Trophy. And ultimately decided to reinstate him as the rightful recipient of the prestigious award.

Michael Comerford, the president of The Heisman Trophy Trust. Expressed his delight at welcoming Reggie Bush back into the Heisman family. In a statement, Comerford emphasized the significance of Bush’s collegiate achievements. The Trust’s acknowledgment of the substantial changes in college athletics in recent years.

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He highlighted that these changes played a pivotal role in the decision to reinstate the trophy for Bush. Comerford reiterated the Trust’s happiness in embracing Bush’s return, underscoring the organization’s joy in recognizing his contributions to college football and welcoming him back into the esteemed circle of Heisman recipients.

In 2021, following the enactment of rules allowing athletes to receive compensation for their name, image, and likeness. Reggie Bush began advocating for the return of his Heisman Trophy. He released a statement in July 2021 expressing his desire for the trophy’s reinstatement. And criticizing the Heisman Trust for its handling of the situation. Bush specifically called out Michael Comerford, the president of The Heisman Trophy Trust, for not returning his calls.

Support for Bush’s cause surged among fellow Heisman winners, with several publicly endorsing his campaign to reclaim the trophy. Notably, former Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel declared earlier in the year that he would boycott the Heisman Trophy ceremony until Bush’s trophy was returned.

Additionally, prominent Heisman recipients such as USC’s Matt Leinart, Bush’s former teammate, and Notre Dame’s Tim Brown voiced their support for Bush’s quest to have his trophy restored. Their vocal advocacy added momentum to the movement seeking justice for Bush and his rightful place in Heisman history.

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Manziel thanked the Heisman Trust for bringing Bush back into the Heisman family.

Thank you to the Heisman Trophy for doing what’s right and welcoming a storied member of our history back into the fold. There were many voices throughout this process that stood on the table for Reggie simply because of the kind of human being he is. I look forward to being on that stage with you this December. Reggie Bush you deserve it.”

In making its decision, the Heisman Trust took into account the 2021 Supreme Court ruling in the Alston case against the NCAA. This ruling challenged the NCAA’s amateurism model and paved the way for student athletes to receive compensation. The Trust acknowledged that this legal decision fundamentally altered the landscape of college athletics by legitimizing the compensation of student athletes.

Given these significant changes in college sports, the Trust concluded that it was appropriate to return the Heisman Trophy to Reggie Bush. Bush, who was widely recognized as the most outstanding college football player of 2005, had previously forfeited the trophy due to NCAA violations. However, with the evolving norms regarding student athlete compensation. The Trust believed that now was the right time to reinstate Bush as the rightful recipient of the award.

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USC has officially secured its position as the leading school in Heisman Trophy wins, boasting a total of eight trophies. This surpasses the seven trophies held by Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Notre Dame, making USC the most decorated institution in Heisman history.

Carol Folt, the president of USC, expressed her joy for Reggie Bush and the entire Trojan Family upon the restoration of Bush’s Heisman honor. Folt stated, “He won our hearts during his illustrious career and deserved to have his well earned honor restored. We are looking forward to celebrating with him and his family and are proud we were able to stand with him as an advocate.”

Bush voluntarily forfeited his Heisman Trophy in September 2010, making it the first instance of a recipient returning college football’s top honor. In a proactive move months earlier, USC returned its replica of Bush’s trophy under the leadership of former athletic director Pat Haden.

The sanctions imposed on USC as a result of the investigation included the vacating of the 2004 national title by the Bowl Championship Series. It is marking the first time a major college football champion had been stripped of a championship. Additionally, the NCAA nullified victories in 14 games in which Bush played. Which is including the BCS title victory over Oklahoma after the 2004 season. In response, Bush filed a defamation lawsuit against the NCAA in August 2023.

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Jen Cohen, the athletic director at USC, described the return of Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy as “a momentous day for Reggie Bush and the entire USC community.” This sentiment reflects the significance of Bush’s reinstatement and the impact it has on the university as a whole.

Reggie Bush’s remarkable performance on the field at USC solidified his status as one of the most outstanding college athletes of the century. He boasted impressive statistics, averaging 8.5 yards per touch from scrimmage throughout his collegiate career. In 2005 alone, Bush rushed for 1,740 yards with an average of 8.7 yards per carry on 200 carries.

Over the span of three seasons, Bush accumulated a total of 42 career touchdowns, showcasing his versatility and playmaking abilities. So, these touchdowns included 25 rushing touchdowns, 13 receiving touchdowns, and four on special teams returns. Bush’s exceptional skillset and contributions to USC football led to his selection as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft. Notably, only one other tailback, Saquon Barkley in 2018, has been chosen as high in the draft since Bush.

USC coach Lincoln Riley expressed his excitement about the historic day, stating, “What a historic day! Reggie’s reintroduction to the Heisman Family is a special moment for every person that has been associated with USC football.” Riley emphasized the significance of Bush’s return to the Heisman family and the recognition of his athletic achievements. He highlighted the longstanding connection between USC and the Heisman Trophy, underscoring the extraordinary nature of having all eight USC Heisman winners officially acknowledged.

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In 2005, Reggie Bush’s performance on the football field was nothing short of dominant, as he showcased his exceptional skills by accumulating a staggering 2,890 all-purpose yards. Such remarkable feats led to Bush receiving an impressive 784 first place votes for the Heisman Trophy, making him the recipient of the fifth-highest number of first place votes in Heisman Trophy history.

Now, nearly two decades later, Bush has once again been rightfully awarded his Heisman Trophy. This reinstatement comes as a significant moment in his career and in the history of college football, marking the recognition of his outstanding contributions to the sport during that peerless season.

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