Former USC Star Reggie Bush After NIL Rules Announced: 'I Never Cheated This Game'

Adam WellsJuly 1, 2021

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 16: Reggie Bush, former New Orleans Saints running back, reacts during a game against the Indianapolis Colts at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on December 16, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

On the day that the NCAA's name, image and likeness rules took effect across the country, Reggie Bush is speaking out about the scandal that cost him his Heisman Trophy win in 2005 and saw his records vacated. 

The former USC superstar tweeted Thursday that he "never cheated this game" in reference to the NCAA's previous policy that resulted in penalties and sanctions against the Trojans and himself for receiving improper benefits. 

Reggie Bush @ReggieBush

I never cheated this game. That was what they wanted you to believe about me.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that the board of directors adopted a temporary policy on name, image and likeness rights that will stay in effect "until federal legislation or new NCAA rules are adopted."

Under the policy, student-athletes will be able to sign marketing deals and use their social media pages to promote those brands, receive compensation for personal appearances and autograph signings, and receive payment for their likeness on merchandise. 

Bush spent three seasons at USC from 2003-05. He was named an All-American in each of his final two seasons with the Trojans and won the 2005 Heisman Trophy award. 

One year after Bush left USC for the NFL, the NCAA opened an investigation into allegations that he and his family received gifts and financial payouts during his college career. 

The NCAA announced in 2010 that USC received a two-year bowl ban, four years of probation and forced to vacate 14 wins across two seasons, including the 2004 BCS championship victory over Oklahoma. 

The NCAA said Bush "received lavish gifts from two fledgling sports marketers hoping to sign him." The gifts ranged from "hotel stays and a rent-free home where Bush's family apparently lived to a limousine and a new suit when he accepted his Heisman in New York in December 2005."

Bush issued a statement in Sept. 2010 that he was vacating his Heisman Trophy, making him the first winner of the award to give it back to the Heisman Trust. 

At the time of the NCAA's discipline, USC disassociated itself from Bush. The Trojans ended their disassociation with the California native in June 2020.