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Reggie Bush Says NCAA's 'Sloppy Investigation' Resulted in Heisman Trophy Forfeiture

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IISeptember 24, 2022

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File

Former USC and NFL running back Reggie Bush said on the latest episode of I AM ATHLETE that the NCAA launched a "sloppy" investigation into him and his family en route to the Heisman Trust forcing him to give up his 2005 Heisman Trophy.

Bush dominated the gridiron for USC in 2005, amassing 2,218 yards and 18 touchdowns during his final year with the Trojans. He easily won the Heisman Trophy but was forced to give it up in 2010.

ESPN's Kyle Bonagura summarized the NCAA's reported findings:

"Bush had returned his Heisman Trophy after a four-year extra-benefits investigation determined that he and family members, while he was a student-athlete, accepted cash, travel expenses and a home in the San Diego area where Bush's parents lived rent-free for more than a year and for which they were provided $10,000 to furnish.

"Sanctions from the investigation, which came in 2010, mandated that Bush disassociate from USC and included a two-year postseason ban for the school, 14 vacated victories (including the 2004 BCS national championship) and the loss of 30 scholarships. His 10-year disassociation period ended in June 2020."

Bush offered his side of the story in an interview that will be released in full on Monday.

"First of all, I didn't wanna give it back. I was forced to give it back ... I never interviewed with the Heisman Trust. We had a conference call, so they made a decision to take the Heisman Trophy based on a conference call and based on, you know, some information that they basically got through the NCAA."

A key component of the investigation was regarding a house that Bush's parents moved into.

Bush said that his parents were evicted from a townhouse they were renting because the owners weren't paying their mortgage. Bush explained his parents were forced to look for a new place, and that family friends gave them a place to live as a temporary option before their next move.

"But moving into that house was the house that the NCAA plastered all across the world as if this was a house that was given to us as a part of me. You know, my name, image and likeness being sold for whatever. I don't know what they think.

"The NCAA does not know that piece of information right now. They have never, ever heard that because they didn't do their homework. It's a sloppy investigation. Everything about the investigation was sloppy. They didn't do their homework, they didn't talk to my parents, they didn't talk to any of our family members, anything."

The NCAA launched name, image and likeness policies last year. Bush's Heisman Trophy came into question, and the Heisman Trust said at the time that it would give the trophy back if the NCAA reinstated his statistics.

However, it doesn't appear the NCAA will do so, according to Nick Bromberg of Yahoo Sports.

Bush carved out an 11-year NFL career after the New Orleans Saints selected him No. 2 overall in the 2006 NFL draft. He won a Super Bowl with the 2009 Saints and finished his career with 9,088 total yards and 54 touchdowns.

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