Skip to main content

Heisman Trophy stiff-arms Bush's request

Officials representing college football's most prestigious individual award are telling former USC great and 2005 Heisman winner Reggie Bush that the NCAA must act.

The Heisman Trophy is using its signature stiff-arm once again on Reggie Bush.

On Friday, the Heisman Trophy Trust issued a formal statement after Bush this week renewed his public plea to have both his 2005 Heisman Trophy award and his career statistics while an All-American at the University of Southern California reinstated.

The statement, attributed to the Heisman's Tim Henning, said:

“Subsequent to Bush being awarded the 2005 Heisman Trophy, the NCAA concluded an investigation that he and his family had received impermissible benefits while a student athlete at The University of Southern California and vacated his playing records as well as those of the entire USC football team.

“In September of 2010, Bush announced that he would forfeit his title as a Heisman Trophy Winner and the Heisman Trust vacated the 2005 award. Bush returned his trophy and USC returned its replica trophy to the Heisman Trust.

“The Heisman Trophy ballot used by voters has a rule governing eligibility for the award, which was in effect in 2005, which states:

“'In order that there will be no misunderstanding regarding the eligibility of a candidate, the recipient of the award must be a bona fide student of an accredited college or university including the United States Academies. The recipient must be in compliance with the bylaws defining an NCAA student athlete.'

“Bush’s 2005 season records remain vacated by the NCAA and, as a result, under the rule set forth by the Heisman Trust and stated on the Heisman Ballot, he is not eligible to be awarded the 2005 Heisman Memorial Trophy. Should the NCAA reinstate Bush’s 2005 status, the Heisman Trust looks forward to welcoming him back to the Heisman family.”

In other words, Heisman officials are standing pat on their decision 11 years ago to strip Bush of his trophy and only intend to revisit that decision if the NCAA agrees to reinstate Bush's career numbers as a Trojan.

Bush's statement this week said, in part:

“Over the past few months, on multiple occasions, my team and I have reached out to both the NCAA and the Heisman Trust in regard to the reinstatement of my college records and the return of my Heisman. … It is my strong belief that I won the Heisman Trophy “solely” due to my hard work and dedication on the football field and it is also my firm belief that my records should be reinstated.”

FootballScoop on Thursday afternoon reached out to the NCAA and requested comment on Bush's statement as well as his quest to see his statistical accomplishments, including his 6,541 all-purpose yards from 39 career games with the Trojans, returned to both the school's and the association's record books. The NCAA has yet to respond to FootballScoop's inquiry.