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Reggie Bush’s 2005 Heisman Trophy Reinstated: Emblematic of College Football’s New NIL Era



Reggie Bush is set to reclaim his 2005 Heisman Trophy, with ESPN learning that the Heisman Trust will formally announce its “reinstatement” on Wednesday, citing “significant changes in the college football landscape.”

The decision by the Heisman Trust follows Bush’s voluntary forfeiture of the trophy in 2010, prompted by severe NCAA sanctions against USC. These penalties stemmed from revelations of improper benefits received by Bush during his tenure with the Trojans from 2003 to 2005.

In this latest development, the Heisman Trust will return the original Heisman Trophy to Bush and provide a replica to USC. Furthermore, Bush will be reinstated as a participant in all future Heisman Trophy ceremonies, starting with the 2024 season.

Expressing his enthusiasm, Bush stated to ESPN, “Personally, I’m thrilled to reunite with my fellow Heisman winners and be a part of the storied legacy of the Heisman Trophy. I’m honored to return to the Heisman family and look forward to collaborating with the Heisman Trust to advance its values and mission.”

The decision to reinstate the Heisman Trophy followed a thorough review process by the Heisman Trust, which acknowledged the significant transformations in college athletics in recent years. Notably, the Trust referenced the normalization of “student-athlete compensation” as a key factor in its decision-making.

Michael Comerford, president of The Heisman Trophy Trust, expressed delight at welcoming Reggie Bush back into the Heisman family, emphasizing the Trust’s consideration of the evolving landscape of college athletics.

Bush’s advocacy for the return of his trophy gained momentum with the implementation of rules allowing athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness in 2021. He publicly criticized the Heisman Trust, particularly Michael Comerford, for not addressing his appeals.

Numerous former Heisman winners, including Johnny Manziel, Matt Leinart, and Tim Brown, voiced support for Bush’s reinstatement in recent years.

The Heisman Trust also cited the 2021 Supreme Court ruling in the Alston case, which questioned the NCAA’s amateurism model and signaled a broader acceptance of student-athlete compensation.

With Bush’s Heisman Trophy reinstated, USC now boasts eight Heisman Trophies, the most of any school in the country. This marks a significant milestone for USC, which faced repercussions, including the vacating of the 2004 national title, due to the NCAA sanctions.

Reggie Bush’s stellar performance at USC solidified his status as one of the most influential collegiate athletes of the century. His remarkable statistics, including an average of 8.5 yards per touch from scrimmage and 42 career touchdowns over three seasons, highlighted his profound impact on the game.



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