Reggie Bush Heisman Scandal: Former USC Star Running Back Returns Heisman Trophy

Mihir Bhagat@mihirbhagatSenior Analyst IIISeptember 15, 2010

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 10:  Running back Reggie Bush #5 of the USC Trojans poses with the 2005 Heisman trophy after winning the award at the 71st Annual Heisman Ceremony on December 10, 2005 in New York City.  (Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)
Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

According to reports, Reggie Bush has voluntarily decided to hand over his Heisman Trophy. 

The former USC star running back won the award in 2005 after amassing 2,218 total yards from scrimmage along with 18 touchdowns. 

"One of the greatest honors of my life was winning the Heisman Trophy in 2005," said a statement released by Bush. "For me, it was a dream come true...Each individual carries the legacy of the award and each one is entrusted with its good name."

"It is for these reasons that I have made the difficult decision to forfeit my title as Heisman winner of 2005."

One of the requirements to be eligible for the award was that the player must be in compliance with NCAA rules. Bush reportedly received improper benefits while at USC and the case was under review. USC has been facing similar issues with several of their athletes including basketball star O.J. Mayo, and received heavy punishments as a result.

Allegations that Bush's family received hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts was first reported in September 2006, which was just months after the New Orleans Saints took him with the No. 2 overall selection in the 2006 NFL Draft.

Once investigations began, Bush immediately denied that he had taken wrong actions. Of course, fast forward a few years later to the present-day, and it's apparent that he had.

Bush said he would like to work with the Heisman Trustees to establish an educational program which would assist student-athletes and their families to help avoid the mistakes that he made. 

Knowing that he was eventually going to be forced to forfeit the trophy, Bush decided to go ahead and voluntarily do so himself. 

This is marked as the first time ever that the award was returned by the recipient. 

Many are now debating a controversial issue as to whether or not Vince Young, the runner up, should be given the trophy.

"I definitely want it. But he won it fair and square definitely, and it's much respect to Reggie, man. But if they send it over to me I am not going to say no to it," Young said in an interview today.

A few other former college football players decided to comment on the issue as well.

"I don't think he should've gave his trophy away. I think it's a shame that it's come to this for Reggie," 1995 Heisman winner, Ohio State running back Eddie George said. 

"It doesn't matter if he gives it back," 1972 Heisman winner Nebraska's Johnny Rodgers said. "Everyone still knows Reggie Bush was the best player that year."

And, he certainly was. In the balloting, Bush was the clear winner as he received the third-most first place votes in history (784) and finished 933 points ahead of Young.

I personally believe that the sanctions given to USC were appropriate, and I'm glad that Bush gave up his trophy. At the same time, I don't think Young should be given the award simply because it could possibly impact the integrity of the award and degrade Bush's phenomenal performance that year. 

Still, whatever happens, I wish Bush the best of luck moving forward and hopefully he can develop into the superstar he was projected to be.

Seemingly, that's all Bush is interested in as he tweeted, "Now that this is behind me I look forward to the future and winning more awards and championships here in New Orleans! Who Dat!"

Information from an ESPN news report was used in this article.