Reggie Bush Set to Have 2005 Heisman Trophy Returned


April 24, 2024

It’s about time!

Reggie Bush was a star athlete at the University of Southern California (USC) from 2003 to 2005. In his final year, he rushed for 1,740 yards, 2,890 all-purpose yards, averaged an impressive 8.7 yards per carry on 200 carries, and racked up a whopping 42 career touchdowns over the 3 seasons, ESPN reports. Needless to say, he was the undisputed Heisman Trophy winner in 2005, eventually drafted No. 2 in the 2006 NFL Draft, the highest at that time for a tailback, leading to an illustrious and highly anticipated NFL career. 

However, the NCAA eventually sanctioned USC, alleging that Bush had received illegal benefits during his career as a Trojan. This decision had far-reaching consequences, leading to the stripping of USC’s 14 game victories that Bush played in, the vacating of the Trojans’ 2004 national title, and the return of Bush’s Heisman Trophy replica by USC and Bush’s forfeiture of the trophy in 2010. The impact on USC was significant, with the university’s football champion title being stripped for the first time ever.


The decision has remained controversial. In recent years, after significant NIL deal changes for college athletes, Bush’s controversial sanction reignited new outrage over the Heisman debacle. Now, the Heisman Trust has announced the reinstatement of the trophy to Bush, citing “enormous changes in the college football landscape.” This decision seems long overdue for the once-tarnished college phenom. 

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

After the rules were changed in 2021, allowing college athletes to be compensated under NIL deals, Bush began lobbying for the return of his Heisman Trophy. His cause was not fought alone. He received overwhelming support from fans and peers, with former Texas A&M athlete Johnny Manziel vowing to skip the Heisman Trophy ceremony this year until Bush’s award was returned. Former teammate Matt Leinart and fellow Heisman winner Tim Brown (Notre Dame) also voiced their support publicly for Bush, demonstrating the strong bond and camaraderie among athletes. In 2023, Bush also filed a defamation lawsuit against the NCAA, further solidifying his stance.


“Recognizing that the compensation of student athletes is an accepted practice and appears here to stay, these fundamental changes in college athletics led the Trust to decide that now is the right time to return the Trophy to Bush, who unquestionably was the most outstanding college football player for 2005,” the Heisman Trophy Trust said via statement. 

Trust president Michael Comerford also supported the decision, saying, “We are thrilled to welcome Reggie Bush back to the Heisman family in recognition of his collegiate accomplishments. 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.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by reggiebush (@reggiebush)


Now nearly two decades since Bush played for USC, he will finally receive the credit he deserves. Not only will his Heisman Trophy be returned, USC will also have its replica returned, officially marking eight Heisman Trophies for the school, the most of any in the country. Bush will also be invited to attend Heisman Trophy ceremonies again starting this 2024 season.

Cover photo: Reggie Bush Set to Have 2005 Heisman Trophy Returned/Reggie Bush with Heisman Trophy in New York, 2005/Photo Credit: Associated Press

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join the BOTWC newsletter for the latest in news & culture!

By clicking Submit, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Newsletter Signup
Skip to content