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Reggie Bush to Get His Heisman Trophy Back 14 Years After USC Scandal

Reggie Bush to Get His Heisman Trophy Back 19 Years After Forfeiting Following USC Scandal 173
Reggie Bush. Unique Nicole/Getty Images for Change The Game

Reggie Bush will have his Heisman Trophy back in his possession soon enough.

“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, 39, told ESPN in a Wednesday, April 24, statement. “I also look forward to working together with the Heisman Trust to advance the values and mission of the organization.”

The Heisman Trust announced on Wednesday that they will return the trophy to Bush and a replica version to the University of Southern California. Bush will also be able to attend future Heisman Trophy ceremonies.

The Heisman Trophy is presented annually to the most outstanding college football player, highlighting a student athlete’s sports skills, diligence, perseverance and hard work. Bush won the honor in 2005 during his time playing running back for USC.

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Five years after the ceremony, Bush was accused of getting improper benefits and being involved in a “pay-for-play” scheme from the university between 2003 and 2005. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) imposed significant sanctions on USC before Bush forfeited his trophy.

“One of the greatest honors of my life was winning the Heisman Trophy in 2005. For me, it was a dream come true. But I know that the Heisman is not mine alone,” Bush said in a statement at the time.  “Far from it. I know that my victory was made possible by the discipline and hard work of my teammates, the steady guidance of my coaches, the inspiration of the fans, and the unconditional love of my family and friends.”

Reggie Bush to Get His Heisman Trophy Back 19 Years After Forfeiting Following USC Scandal 174
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Bush added:  “And I know that any young man fortunate enough to win the Heisman enters into a family of sorts. Each individual carries the legacy of the award and each one is entrusted with its good name.”

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After years of maintaining he did nothing wrong — and after new rules allowed college athletes to profit off of their likeness were passed — Bush filed a defamation lawsuit against the NCAA in August 2023.

“Pay-for-play,’ as the NCAA uses the phrase, refers to ‘inducements for initial enrollment and transfers,’” Bush’s attorneys wrote in the court documents. “As such, the Statement is false. Mr. Bush was never offered money to compete for USC. Mr. Bush never considered accepting such a proposal. Mr. Bush did not accept any money or benefits in return for enrolling at and/or competing for USC.”

The lawsuit has not been resolved and the NCAA’s motion to dismiss hearing is scheduled for Monday, April 29.

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