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Reggie Bush Can Have 2005 Heisman Trophy Back If NCAA Reinstates Him, Trust Says

Blake SchusterContributor IJuly 2, 2021

04 JAN 2006:  Reggie Bush (5) of the University of Southern California plays against the University of Texas during the BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.  Texas defeated USC 41-38 for the national title.  Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images
NCAA Photos

Reggie Bush can get his 2005 Heisman Trophy back if the NCAA reinstates him, the Heisman Trophy Trust announced Friday.

In a statement responding to Bush's desire to have the honor restored, the Trust called his 2005 season at USC a "privilege" to witness and outlined the process for the former Trojans star to regain the trophy:

"The Heisman Trophy ballot used by voters has a rule governing eligibility for the award, which was in effect in 2005, which states:
"'In order that there will be no misunderstanding regarding the eligibility of a candidate, the recipient of the award must be a bona fide student of an accredited college or university including the United States Academies. The recipient must be in compliance with the bylaws defining an NCAA student athlete.'
"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. Should the NCAA reinstate Bush’s 2005 status, the Heisman Trust looks forward to welcoming him back to the Heisman family."
Reggie Bush @ReggieBush

My statement… <a href="https://t.co/kbyqXgHncf">pic.twitter.com/kbyqXgHncf</a>

Bush rushed for 1,740 yards and 16 touchdowns while hauling in 37 passes for 478 yards and two more scores over 13 games in 2005. He also returned punts and kickoffs, taking one punt back for a touchdown. He won the Heisman over Texas quarterback Vince Young and USC teammate Matt Leinart.

Bush returned the trophy in 2010 after an NCAA investigation concluded the tailback received impermissible benefits and vacated his season.

After the NCAA enacted a name, image and likeness policy this week, allowing college athletes to profit on their individual marketability, Bush believes he has a case for reinstatement. 

The Heisman Trophy Trust called the NCAA's NIL policy a "positive step in the right direction" and said it favors any legislation that benefits student-athletes. Yet the NCAA hasn't appeared willing to reinstate Bush, who told Bruce Feldman of The Athletic last year he struggled to even pay for food at USC.

"An extra $25,000 would’ve significantly changed my life in college," Bush said. "I don’t mean just changed it a little bit. It would’ve made things a lot less stressful because it’s stressful when you’re trying to figure out, how am I gonna eat?"

Reggie Bush @ReggieBush

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

Bush said in his statement he reached out to the NCAA as well as the Heisman Trophy Trust for clarity in recent weeks, but the NCAA has yet to respond.

It's unclear if the NCAA's position will change given the trust's willingness to give the 2005 trophy back to Bush.