Reggie Bush gets Heisman Trophy back 14 years after forfeiting

Written by on April 24, 2024

(ESPN) – Reggie Bush has his 2005 Heisman Trophy back, as the Heisman Trust announced Wednesday the formal “reinstatement” of the trophy to Bush amid what it calls “enormous changes in the college football landscape.”

The Heisman Trust’s decision comes after Bush forfeited his Heisman Trophy in 2010 in the wake of significant NCAA sanctions for USC, which included Bush receiving improper benefits during a Trojans career that spanned from 2003 to 2005.

As part of the decision Wednesday, the Heisman Trust is returning the Heisman Trophy to Bush and a replica to USC. Bush will again be invited to all future Heisman Trophy ceremonies, beginning in the 2024 season.

“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,” Bush said in a statement to ESPN. “I also look forward to working together with the Heisman Trust to advance the values and mission of the organization.

Bush received his Heisman Trophy at the end of a previously scheduled summit meeting of the Trust on Wednesday morning outside Jacksonville, Florida. Tim Henning, associate director of the Heisman Trust, described a “celebratory atmosphere” to ESPN’s Coley Harvey, as about 15 Heisman winners were in attendance at the meeting.

“The other winners were all very excited to see him,” Henning said.

The decision to reinstate the Heisman Trophy was based on a “deliberative process” by the Heisman Trust to monitor a sea change in college athletics in recent years. The Trust cited “fundamental changes in college athletics” in which rules that have allowed “student athlete compensation” to become “an accepted practice and appears here to stay.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Reggie Bush back to the Heisman family in recognition of his collegiate accomplishments,” Michael Comerford, president of The Heisman Trophy Trust, said in a statement. “We considered the enormous changes in college athletics over the last several years in deciding that now is the right time to reinstate the trophy for Reggie. We are so happy to welcome him back.”

As rules allowing athletes to be compensated for their name, image and likeness were enacted in 2021, Bush began lobbying for his trophy to be returned. He released a statement in July 2021 that included criticism of the Heisman Trust, including Comerford not returning Bush’s calls.

There had been a flurry of recent support from Heisman winners for Bush to get the trophy back. The most public came from former Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel, who said earlier this year that he would skip the Heisman Trophy ceremony until Bush’s trophy was returned. Both USC’s Matt Leinart, Bush’s former teammate, and Notre Dame‘s Tim Brown are Heisman winners who have been outspoken publicly about Bush’s trophy being returned.

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